Dear Step-Dad,

I’m not going to lie, I was a little anxious when you married my mother. I had never really thought about my mom actually getting remarried and was a little nervous when our little family of three turned into a family of five, and eventually six. Although I knew you, I felt like there was a lot more I needed to learn before I “approved” of you, and I honestly wasn’t too sure if I wanted to “approve” of you…in the beginning.

Eleven years later, I truly believe you are a superhero. Not only have you served our country, but you have made a significant impact on our family. You have joined four children and helped us adapt to life together. You have taken my brother and me in as your own and raised my little sister to be a beautiful, smart young lady as well as helping her come to terms with some of her circumstances. You are so active in your church and I’m so proud of the work that you do there. You work so hard at everything you do and when you decided to go back to school, I watched you work tirelessly to study and maintain excellent grades. Even then you continued to do yard work, take care of our family, and do anything else that needed to be done in between. You’re funny, smart, and some would even say you favor Captain America.

You work hard and are an excellent family man, but you are also the best thing that has ever happened to my mother. It makes me happy to know that I don’t have to look further than you to see how a man should treat a woman. It makes me happier to know that even though I am away at school, I know that you will be there if my mom needs anything, is having a bad day, or is just tired. Even if you aren’t having the greatest day, you will stop everything to do anything that needs to be done and to put a smile on my mother’s face. And for these things I cannot thank you enough. Please never lose that spark with her; it really is the greatest part of your marriage.

Most of all, the impact you have made on my life is so important to me. You have taught me how to stand on my own and make all of those financial decisions I could never do alone. You continually encourage me to do the best I can in school and to never give up on what I want, not matter how crazy it might sound at the time. You have taught me how to shoot a gun, clean it, and how important it is to have pride in your country no matter what. You have taken a young, broken girl and turned her into a woman that is ready to take on life head-on. You have taught me so much about myself and life that I didn’t know. Most of all, you have always called me daughter.

Thank you for everything, Jim.

Your Daughter