Lesson From My Step-dad
So I kind of have been looking forward to this post for a while now. In the past, I have written about the complicated relationships I had with men, but today, the man I want to talk about is a man with whom my relationship is anything but complicated.
Today, for Father’s Day, I want to talk about my stepdad, a man who has taught me more by loving my mother and my sister than anyone else I know.
My mom and Ian married in August 2006 at a small wedding chapel in Vegas. The wedding party consisted of me and my sister and I had the great honor of walking my mom down the aisle.
Ever since then, our lives — mine, my sister’s, and my mother’s — has been all the better because of my step-dad. He is the best of men, a guy I didn’t meet until I was a man myself, but has shown me manhood is a long journey that never ends, only evolves.
There is no doubt the men in my mother’s life loved my mom to the best of their ability, but frankly, their best wasn’t good enough to last. So my mom and her two children went at it alone for a few years and while we enjoyed the time when t was just the three of us, I wanted to see my mom with someone who made her happy and someone who looked over my sister should anything happen to me. I wanted another male presence in the house not for me but for them. It wasn’t because I feared for their lives or anything crazy like that. I just wanted my mom to be happy and for my sister a male role model to whom she can look up. We have our Dad, and this is no slight to him, but some consistency was needed. As far as I was concerned, my mom and my sister deserved at least that much.
By my senior year of college, those prayers were answered in the form of the man who is now my step-dad. Without really being a hands-on force in my life, my step-dad has been able to be a dominant force because he does the thing that is most important to my well-being. He makes my mom happy and he treats my sister like a princess.
Don’t get me wrong, Ian has done a lot of great things for me too. He came to my graduation and was just as proud of me as anyone else in my family, he even bought my class ring. There was even this one time I was home from college, visiting on the holiday break.
As I was backing out my mom’s driveway, a car was coming up the hill we live on and smacked into the rear end of my car. Both my mom and step-dad came out to see what happened and the woman who was in the car got out, and she was irate (understandably). When she saw Ian, she asked him, “Is this your son?” Ian said, “Yes.” And I just kind of looked at him not because I needed a man to claim me as my son.
My Pop treated me like his own, and I have a Dad I call every Sunday. In other words, my relationship with the men in my life have been difficult, but they were never non-existent. What struck me about Ian claiming me as his son, even in an such an isolated moment, was how open he was about being a family. To me, in that direct answer, he taught me that family is sometimes not about the blood, it’s about the bond.