Today has always been a mixed bag for me. It hard to celebrate a day that recognizes good fathers when you have such a lousy one. At the same time, I have been fortunate enough to have had someone else who fit the bill very nicely to celebrate with. My mom remarried when I was two years old to a man she had known most of her life. They both grew up in Plymouth, attended the same synagogue (who didn’t back then?) and had children of their own. It was a match made in….Plymouth. It was not an easy transition to taking care of children they didn’t know for very long, and my sister and I still had our father in our lives at that time making things a tad more complicated. Or shall I say he made everything complicated.
We would see our dad on weekends, school vacations, and over the summer but it wasn’t enough to build a relationship with a toddler who lived somewhere else. My stepfather stepped in when I missed out on father-daughter activities such as Celtics games, trips to the beach, and trick or treating. He was consistent. He was there. He didn’t sputter “I can’t handle this” turn around, and leave me at the door.
Not saying that we didn’t have our moments but those were like scattered rain showers compared to the thunderstorms I would experience with my father. They always blew over. After my husband and I got married, he stepped into the shoes of being a stepfather. It’s still a challenge to him and I know there are many lines that he is reluctant to cross because her dad is still in her life albeit from a long distance. He does cross them and not once has he ever just walked away.
When Isabelle was going through her first surgery, he sat next to my mother with me. When Addie was born he was one of the first people to see her and when Liz was born, he was getting a cataract removed but came as soon as he was able. I have pictures of him holding her with his dark glasses on, totally in love with her. My children are his grandchildren, there is no separation of who belongs to to whom. They all belong to their Papa. I love it.
I commend any man who can step into someone else’s father shoes and be there for someone else’s child and making them their own. It’s one of the most difficult things to do but I know for me when Steve did that, it gave me something I would not have had if he walked away. I had an example of what life is supposed to be like with a dad because I had one. I hope Liz feels the same way someday.
Chris does an amazing job with participating in her life. Last night when she needed a ride home he didn’t hesitate to go and get her. He is always at her events- concerts, shows and conferences. He has made doctors appointments, all her birthdays and is willing to teach her to drive. He has included her in his family, and she is one of 11 grandchildren on his side. He understands that her father is part of her life, but he is available for her anyway. His attitude is one of the things I love most about him.
Over the years I have gone through phases of what to call Steve. I’ve called him Steve, Dad, step dad, and Papa. I know that technically I have three fathers- biological one, the one who signed my adoption papers, and the one who raised me. Today, I celebrate the one who raised me, my father in law who has been so good to me, and my husband who is an incredible, loving, doting father to all of my girls. Happy Father’s Day!