An Open Letter to My Stepdad

An Open Letter to My Stepdad

All the things I want to say to you — honestly.
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Dear David:

First of all, I want to say I love you. I don’t feel like I ever say it enough.


It’s taken me a while to get to where I am today, and I have to thank you for most of it. A Stepdad was never a thing I thought I’d have – I had become so used to the idea of one Dad and one Mom, that any other relationship seemed inconceivable. As a seven-year-old, it didn’t really feel like I had a say in anything, including you – which, let’s face it, I didn’t. I must have thought you coming into our lives would weaken the close bond I’d formed with my Mom, and I didn’t want to lose that. I didn’t realize then that a Stepdad would make our family complete and make my Mom happy, but then again, I had probably bought into that whole Cinderella-Mean-Step-parent trope that I had associated with you.

That was the biggest mistake I think I’ve ever made, and one of my deepest regrets.

Because even though you may be stern – okay, let’s be honest, VERY stern – that doesn’t mean you’re horrible, like the Step-parent stereotype implies. You’re probably one of the kindest men I know. You didn’t HAVE to become a part of what seemed like a broken family – a single Mom and her tiny, neurotic daughter. You didn’t have to put in the effort and time and love to build a wonderful life for us, but you did. It takes a kind man to do all of that.

You’re intimidating, but in a good way. I wasn’t used to that personality; Mom is definitely very different. You really tried to be that dominating, responsible father figure that our family needed – which isn’t to say you tried to replace my Dad, but you were there for me in ways my Dad couldn’t at the time. I think, deep down, I harbored anger against you, because it felt like you were trying to be a physical replacement for him. Only with distance can I see you’ve only ever wanted the best for me and for my Mom and sister.

I think we’re the closest to a father/daughter relationship you can get. You’re the one who texts me when I’m spending too much money, being frivolous with responsibility when I need to shape up, and to remind me to respond to Mom’s texts and to yours (and I admit, I do try to avoid owning up to my faults, especially over text). You’ve almost single-handedly financed every weird medical and dental and dermatological and psychological issue I’ve dealt with since you married my Mom (and I’m sure now you look back on that money and think, wow, that could have helped with some other things), but you did that so I could be as healthy as possible. You also wouldn’t believe me when I wanted to skip school for being sick, because unless I was throwing up, then I could make it to class (and this is where I’d go crying to Mom, instead). You’re also the one who begrudgingly pays my rent each month, even though I’m (technically) an adult because you want me to focus on school and have a roof over my head. You’re the one who buys me printer ink when I’m low, pays the phone bill and doesn’t kill me when I go over the month’s data, lets me use his Amazon Prime account to ship things to my house, and moves all the heavy things around my house because I didn’t have a chance to inherit some muscle-building genes from you. You’re the one who is quietly judging the guys I date when you meet them, because you’re the ultimate deciding factor on who is worthy of being a part of my life. You’re the one who gets exasperated when I’m – well – exasperating. I’m pretty sure that’s the textbook Dad stuff.

Honestly, the more time that passes, the more I hate that prefix “Step”, as if you’re only a little responsible for my upbringing, when you’re an integral part of who I am today. Maybe in a few years I’ll still be technologically challenged and have to call you up to answer a simple tech question, or have to ask you the password for the Netflix account (because I’m still part of the family, even after I graduate college, and therefore get streaming privilegesright?), but I hope that no matter where life takes me, that you’ll always know how much I really appreciate you. You’ve supported me even when I was being an asshole ‘stepchild’, because, to you, I wasn’t a stepdaughter – I was your daughter, through and through.

You’ve loved me unconditionally, and for that, I will forever be thankful. I don’t think I can ever make up for the mistakes I’ve made in the past, for any shitty comment I’ve said to you or for any mistake I will make in the future, but I hope that from this point forward, I will remind you as often as possible how much you mean to me.

Thank you for being my Dad, sans-Step.

Your loving daughter,

Megan

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To The Dad Who Didn't Want Me, It's Mutual Now

Thank you for leaving me because I am happy.
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Thank you, for leaving me.

Thank you, for leaving me when I was little.

Thank you, for not putting me through the pain of watching you leave.

Thank you, for leaving me with the best mother a daughter could ask for.

I no longer resent you. I no longer feel anger towards you. I wondered for so long who I was. I thought that because I didn't know half of my blood that I was somehow missing something. I thought that who you were defined me. I was wrong. I am my own person. I am strong and capable and you have nothing to do with that. So thank you for leaving me.

In my most vulnerable of times, I struggled with the fact that you didn't want me. You could have watched me grow into the person that I have become, but you didn't. You had a choice to be in my life. I thought that the fact that my own father didn't want me spoke to my own worth. I was wrong. I am so worthy. I am deserving, and you have nothing to do with that. So thank you for leaving me.

You have missed so much. From my first dance to my first day of college, and you'll continue to miss everything. You won't see me graduate, you won't walk me down the aisle, and you won't get to see me follow my dreams. You'll never get that back, but I don't care anymore. What I have been through, and the struggles that I have faced have brought me to where I am today, and I can't complain. I go to a beautiful school, I have the best of friends, I have an amazing family, and that's all I really need.

Whoever you are, I hope you read this. I hope you understand that you have missed out on one of the best opportunities in your life. I could've been your daughter. I could have been your little girl. Now I am neither, nor will I ever be.

So thank you for leaving me because I am happy. I understand my self-worth, and I understand that you don't define me. You have made me stronger. You have helped make me who I am without even knowing it.

So, thank you for leaving me.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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