To the man who wasn't actually my dad,

You weren't my stepfather either.

But you acted like it when I needed it, whether I knew it or not. And that's what really counts.

When my own father couldn't be there, or when he fell short, you were there to fill in the gaps. You taught me how to throw a baseball, you were at every volleyball game — yelling at the ref's bad calls, may I add — and you played every game of HORSE possible with me.

You took me on lunch and dinner dates. You always knew you'd have someone to go on car rides with you, even if it was just to the convenient store. You teased me like no other, and you protected me like your own daughter.

You made sure boys treated me right, and you let me rant to you about all the drama that went on, even though you didn't know who I was talking about.

There is no way that I can thank you enough. Thank you for the past nine years of meals, clothes and vacations that you have bought me. Thank you for teaching me how to drive and maneuver a car. Thank you for letting me drive your car.

Thank you for being my Hallmark movie buddy (though you don't want to admit it), my Castle binge-watching partner and my Sunday Football explainer.

Thank you for knowing my favorite color, my favorite stores to shop in and my Broadway shows.

You may not be my dad, or even my stepfather, but you're like a bonus dad. You will never take my father's place in my life, but you always give me the parts of a father that he lacks.

Thank you. I love you.