My dad is a pretty special guy. I didn’t get him the traditional way. We don’t share DNA. He wasn’t there when I was born and he didn’t have to change any of my diapers. He didn’t adopt me and no, he didn’t steal me from someone’s backyard and pretend I was his. He wasn’t even there for any of my teenage years (something I’m sure my mom is very jealous about.) My dad was actually a wedding “gift” from my mom when she married him. When she walked down the aisle and said “I do”, she was saying “I do” for more than just herself. She said “I do” for our family.
I wasn’t a kid when Woody popped into my life. I had just graduated from high school when I met him. And I liked him right away. He was easy going, kind, he loved to laugh, and he truly loved my mom. So I was pretty excited when he told me he was going to propose to her. And I was thrilled the day they got married and he officially became part of our family.
So my dad is technically my stepdad. Yep, I’m one of the lucky people who got a stepdad. (No, I’m not being sarcastic.) I really am lucky. I hit the stepparent jackpot. My mom chose well. Her second-husband-picking-skills must be pretty amazing. I instantly liked him and in time, I loved him. He does what dads do. He worries about me, he always wants the best for me, he misses me when I’m gone… He loves me unconditionally. This might sound shocking, but I haven’t always been perfect. I’ve driven him crazy and I’ve disappointed him, maybe even broken his heart a little. But he still loves me.
No, he wasn’t around when I learned to ride a bike or even drive a car. But he was the one who packed me up and drove me to college for the first time. He walked me down the aisle when I got married. He’s the one who calls to check on me, and who flies 1,000 or 3,000 miles to visit me. He’s the one who calls me his Princess.
Well, he called me Princess until new royalty showed up. Six years after getting the title of “Dad”, he got another nickname: Grandfather, or Ya Ya, as we call him. My daughter was born and she became his little princess. And I loved him even more because of it. He put his arms around Megan and instantly fell in love with her. There was never a question in his mind – that little baby was his granddaughter. He has earned the title of Ya Ya three more times since then, and each time it’s been the same thing. They are his grandsons. His boys.
So my dad is a pretty special dad. He doesn’t love me because he has to or because of how incredibly adorable I was when I was a baby. He made a choice to love me. Because he loved my Mom, he loved me and let me love him. He chose to be my dad. He is the one that cares for me and worries about me. He is the one that wants me to come home to visit, wants me to live nearby, calls to check up on me, comes to spend Christmas with me, loves my kids and wants to be with them.
Not all stepparents are like the evil stepmother in Cinderella. Some of us have parents that make good choices and find wonderful partners. Wonderful partners who step up and fill a vacancy in our lives. He may technically be my stepdad, but he is really my dad. My real dad. I wouldn’t trade him for any other dad in the world.
Happy Father’s Day Pops! I love you.