An Open Letter To The Man Who Stepped Up

An Open Letter To The Man Who Stepped Up

Thank you for choosing me.
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Dear Non-Biological Dad,

It takes a strong little kid to accept that their father doesn't want to be a part of their life. It also takes a strong man to step up and provide for that little kid. It takes a lot of time, effort and patience to make that little kid feel loved after someone walks out on them. You didn't have to love me, you didn't have to give me everything I ever needed, but you chose to. You chose to be there when someone else didn't, and for that, you deserve all of the thanks I have.

I thought it would be Mommy and me forever. We were best buddies, the dream team, two peas in a pod; then all of a sudden, Mom was going on dates and leaving me behind. I wasn't too happy about that. At first, you were just that guy that made Mom smile again. I was supposed to be Mom's smile. I remember the first day I met you; I was terrified. You were this big scary guy in a leather jacket who was trying to get me to talk to you. Thinking back, that was also probably a scary moment for you. I was Mommy's little girl and you had to impress me, too. It worked, a little bit. It's funny though, I had no idea then that you would one day become one of the most important people in my life.

I remember your and Mom's wedding day, you chose to dance with Mom and me and made me feel a family for the first time. I remember you picked me up and sang to me and told me that you loved me for the first time. I cried like a baby, and you did too.

If I said that I accepted you then, I'd be a liar. It took me a long time to figure out what you were trying to do. You'd watch me when Mom wasn't around. You'd take me out to dinners, baseball games, concerts and amusement parks. You would cook my favorite meals for me and get mad when I couldn't finish them, and you had to. You would watch the same TV shows with me over and over. You would come to all of my softball and basketball games, school events and even escorted me to my first dance. You were my dad from day one, and I never realized it.

As I got older, I started resenting you and saying things I didn't think I would regret. I regret them now. I thought you were mean. You wouldn't let me go out with friends who you didn't know. You asked me a thousand questions before I left the house when I actually went out, and then a thousand more when I got home. You wouldn't let me date the boys I liked. You always told me I had an attitude and didn't listen. You and Mom would fight about me being rebellious and she would always "take my side" even though you were usually right. You were just being exactly what I needed.

I'm not that much older now, but I wish I would have appreciated you more. I wish that I would have seen the amount of effort you put in to treating me like I was your "real" daughter. We like to joke that I turned out more like you than anyone else. I think that's true. You deserve more thanks than I could ever repay you.

Thank you for being the "bad guy" all of the time. Thank you for being a goof and embarrassing me in front of my friends. Thank you for protecting me from those teenage boys. Thank you for being my cheerleader, chauffeur and body guard. Thank you for loving my mom and making her happy. Thank you for giving me a family. Thank you for giving me everything that someone else chose not to.

Thank you for choosing me.

Love,

Your Daughter

Cover Image Credit: Tani Oslar

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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7 Of The Best Things About Working With Kids

From snotty noses to sloppy kisses, I have the best job in the world.

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I've worked with kids or around kids for as long as I can remember. It's hard, but its the best job in the entire world. I can't thank God enough that this is where he placed me for this season of my life, and I'll forever be grateful that I get to wake up and be surrounded by tiny humans most days out of the week.

There are so many great and wonderful things about this job, but here are 10 of my personal favorites.

1. Every day is a different day.

When you're with kids, not one day is going to be like the other. Kid's are unpredictable, and it's hard to predict if you're going to have a good or rough day.

2. Playtime is never over.

I always knew that kids had the biggest imagination, but I never realized just how big their imagination really was until I got to witness it firsthand. They could play for hours and always find something new to do or create.

3. You get to channel your inner Food Network Chef when it comes to mealtime.

Sometimes, when You're kid needs to eat but won't touch their food, you throw your chef's hat on and start thinking. Whether it's making 'pink' eggs or cutting peanut butter and jelly into a star, you gotta do what you gotta do.

4. Everyone gets excited to see you when you go to work.

Rather than going to an office job where all you may get is a nod and a 'good morning,' when you work with kids, you get greeted at the door with hugs and kisses and everyone is excited to see you.

5. You get all the cuddles.

When they hurt their toe or some take their toy, You get approximately 30 seconds of hugs and cuddles before they move past it and go on about their business.

6. You're constantly wiping noses and sticky hands, but still, somehow end up covered in snot and a mysterious stain.

I'm basically just a giant napkin at this point.

7. The sloppy kisses are the best kind of kisses.

Nothing compares to having a sweet angel baby look at you and ask to give you a kiss. It makes my heart flutter.

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