I don't know what has made me realize lately that my step-dad never really got much credit in raising my brother and myself but he came into my life when I was just about 13 and my brother was getting ready to turn 11 and he has been there since. To say I was the tough one is an understatement. By the time my mom remarried I decided I knew it all and didn't need a father. I was wrong. My step-dad has been the only true male figure of my life and he has done the best job anyone could raising a stubborn, angry, hurt and scared kid who missed her dad and put up a huge wall because she didn't want to let anyone in and betray her daddy. It sounds stupid and I didn't do it knowingly but that's what I did.
Skip forward about thirty years and I started dating a man with a child. My biggest fear was me facing me. I got lucky and found a child who actually loves me. We have a great time together but knowing my place is hard.
I have come to realize that step parents are the forgotten, misunderstood, under appreciated and sometimes just completely overlooked parent in the world. They walk a very fine line. They have the job of supporting both natural parents believe it or not; the parent they love and the parent that they may not even know well but whom they are co-parenting. There is often discourse in the relationship with the biological parents, it may be easier for the step-parent to take the supportive-neutral role. Call them Switzerland. They are the voice of reason. When push comes to shove, they will side with their spouse, of course, but they have the unique ability to see reason without the feelings and pain of the past.
That's why I think Step parents need their own holiday. Not just Father's Day or Mother's Day but a Bonus Parent or extra Parent Day or whatever you want to call it. They work hard at raising kids that they love like their own and it may take 30 years before the kid realizes, like me, that their step dad didn't have to bust his butt for me. So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you Jim, I love you for everything you did for us. You were a great dad. You may have driven me crazy but that's what a dad is suppose to do. You took care of us and you made sure we always had what we needed and everything we wanted too and you kept us safe. Plus, you embarrassed us just the way dads do. You did a good job!
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