Sunday is Father’s Day. It is a day that we recognize the men that have raised us, disciplined us, loved us and have shown us how to be better people. But this isn’t always our dads. I was fortunate enough to grow up with a father that showed me these things since the day I was born and still does til this day. I do know that this is not always the case. Sometimes it’s an uncle, a neighbor, a godparent, and a lot of times a stepparent. These are men that did not have to step up, but did anyway. At some point these men showed up and understood the importance of having a male role model in children’s lives. They weren’t bribed or paid to do it. They did it because, even though the child/children was their own, they loved them and wanted to best for their future. My daughter had been blessed with a man like this in her life. Her “stepdad”.
When we started dated, my boyfriend was 23 years old. I was 25 with a 2 year old. He was very vocal about how he felt about dating someone with a kid. So for a while he was just a “friend” in her eyes. He never went out of his way to play “dad” but he was definitely her friend. Now, I know for some women it’s a red flag if a man and a child don’t bond immediately, but I knew how young he was and that this was a big step for him so I didn’t force anything. He always kept a little distance between them so if anything happened with us it wouldn’t hurt too much for her. But over time I saw the love between them grow. I saw this little, quirky bond between them. He would give her bits of advice that she would take to heart. They would bicker and argue but be best buds in the end. He traveled a lot for work and we did the long distance thing for a while but it was difficult to maintain. We both had a lot of growing up to do so we decided to break up. She would often ask about him and tell me she missed him. That was tough.
After a couple of years apart we got back together. After a year or so we started living together. This was a huge step for all of us but we knew we were ready. And over the last couple years I have watched a love grow between them that I never thought I would witness. To her friends that is her “dad”. When I work at night he takes care of her. But not just “babysits” her. He takes her to dinners and movies. Their favorite past time is eating frozen yogurt together. Some days they sit home and he makes her dinner and they will just watch Netflix. He forces her to go to Lowe’s and Home Depot with him. He disciplines her, takes her phone from her when she had an attitude, laughs with her, helps her with homework and gives her a stable home. He is RAISING her. He is showing her love, discipline and respect. He makes her feel secure and safe. She knows that he will be there for her no matter what life throws at us. He always has her future in the back of his mind. He is raising her to be successful in life.
I can’t explain how it feels to know that she has this in her life. I wish that he knew how important all of these things are to both her and myself. We are forever appreciate of him. I know there are so many other men “raising” children that are not biologically theirs and us mothers want you to know that we are so thankful for that. So happy father’s Day to the dads out there that may not share their blood but who share their heart!