Goodbye Ordinary

(step)Father’s Day

Posted on: June 17, 2012

Just a warning, this post is very personal to me, and it’s something I rarely talk about. I’ve actually been writing it for a while now…

So, like many, many of my peers I come from a blended family. My parents got pregnant with me Junior year of high-school. They got married, they got divorced, my dad finished college and then moved across the country for the career he always wanted… Leaving a 5ish year old me behind with my mom. I visited him every summer for about a week or two, and we talked on the phone every so often. Within a couple years of the move, both of my parents remarried. I got a step-mom, and a step-sister from one of those marriages, and a stepfather (obviously) from the other.

Let me first say that I love all of my parents. All 4 of them. But, our relationships are all very, very different. I don’t mean this post to be hurtful at all, or to place blame or anything, I just want to finally give some much needed recognition.

So, if my memory serves correctly, over the years the phone calls between my father and I got shorter, and more spaced apart. It’s difficult to keep a relationship between a father and a t(w)eenager, when you only have phone calls and a once-a-year visit. My dad was never part of my adolescent parenting. He was just the man who I look crazily alike, who has a great laugh, my same smile, feet, and eyes, that loves the outdoors. I don’t blame him for not being around. Being a teen mother myself, I know what he had faced, and at least he always kept in touch with me, provided for me, and loved me; even if it was from afar. I am very thankful that he didn’t cause a million problems for my mom and stepdad, or drag all of through a bitter and ugly custody battle or something. He was an awesome dad in that he let another man raise his daughter because he couldn’t be there to.

My dad and I still don’t have much of a relationship, we talk on the phone sometimes, but I don’t think either of us really ever know what to say. I love him, and I’m sure he loves me, but it is what it is, the result of being the “absent” parent for most of the year (and of my life) by living on the other coast.

Anyway… then there is my stepdad. We’re both Leo’s. Actually, we have the same birthday, just 18?-ish years apart. We are both stubborn. We are both opinionated. We are both loyal to a fault. In other words, we clash. ALL. The. Time. I can remember a million screaming matches. We both are so prideful that I think out of all of the fights/arguments, there were very few “I’m sorry”s… and over the years, I can honestly say there were very very few “I love you”‘s.

But, it’s not that we didn’t/don’t love each other. We’re just too… idk what… to speak that little phrase. I want to be clear though, it was always known.

I wasn’t spoiled by him in a “wrapped around daddy’s finger” sort of way… That’d be my younger sister’s territory (his bio-daughter). But he did so much for me. He was hard on me. He IS hard on me. He pushed me to excel in everything, even when I knew I was going to fail at it (and rarely did I actually fail). He taught me to drive (after my mom freaked me out so much while I was pulling into our driveway that I hit the wrong pedal and almost crashed into the house…). He grounded me, often. He went to my sports events (even when it was cheerleading). I’m pretty sure he held my hair back while I puked a few times. And most importantly, he always introduced me as his own. I was never just  his “step-daughter” and most certainly not “my wife’s daughter”. I was his. and even though I called him by his name, and I don’t share any DNA with him, he was is my dad.

I think we had a pretty normal “father”/daughter relationship. The love/hate kind. We’d go days, sometimes weeks, without talking. Every day for 2.5 years we’d simultaneously get ready for school/work and never say a word to each other, just nod our head on the way out the door. But, he was always there for me, and I knew that. It was a special kind of dysfunction.

When I got pregnant with my son… I wasn’t afraid of my parents… After all, I was a year older than they were when they got pregnant with me… So what could they say?! But, I was afraid of my step-dad’s reaction. I was on birth control, I didn’t mean to get pregnant. He came in the room after he knew I tested and asked… “so, am I going to be a grandfather?” all lighthearted. All I could do was nod my head… and burst into tears. He asked if I was joking and I remember screaming something at him, and possibly chucking the pregnancy test at him/the door. Fast forward to the Monster actually being here, he is the most devoted “papa” ever, with Little Miss too.

I can’t say that I don’t wish things were different. I wish a lot of things. In a perfect world, I’d have had my “real” dad around for all of those things too… But if I did, I wouldn’t have the relationship I have with my stepdad. I wish that I wouldn’t have hated either of them so much… after all, I really did love them both, even when I “hated” them. They were both doing what they thought was best for me, and in their own ways, they are both great fathers.

My dad stayed on the sidelines, and I haven’t asked him, but I’d like to think that it was because he knew that my stepdad was taking care of me for him, and he didn’t want to get in the way of that. So thank you both, for letting me be me and make my own (countless) mistakes. Thank you both for being there, even for the worst of them.

And to my step-dad, I hope that you know I love you, even when I hate you. And it is all that I could ever want for my kids, for them to have a stepfather who loves them as much as you love me.

…my facebook went stupid and won’t load so, i’ll have to edit with a pic later!

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