To The Man Who Stepped Up
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Politics and Activism

To The Man Who Stepped Up

A letter to the world's best stepdad.

To The Man Who Stepped Up
Sandra Lee Neil-Carter

Many people were born with a biological father who has stayed by their side from the beginning. Some of us, however, were lucky enough to have been blessed with something even greater. We have a dad who isn't technically our father, but we wouldn't see him as anything but that. We will admit, when our mom first brought him around, we weren't exactly the most open to him. A new person is scary in any situation, especially when they're dating your mom. Plus, who can blame a kid for not realizing that we were potentially meeting the person who would become the most influential male in our lives?

This person, of course, is our loving stepdad. He might go by many names: stepdad, his actual name, a weird (albeit affectionate) nickname, or maybe even the most fitting, dad. He is the man who stepped in when the deadbeats in our lives stepped out for a smoke break. He treats us like his own child, and introduces us to everyone as so. He is the one to meet our first date, send us off to prom, cheer for us at graduation, and dance with us at our wedding. He taught us how to check our oil, how to parallel park (not that we remember it), how to negotiate, and how to start a conversation with just about anyone. Our stepdad was the person to show us how a real man should treat us, and how we should treat women. He is even the person who taught us how to tell the absolute corniest of jokes. He is our teacher in life.

We might fight sometimes but we know that he is the buttress of our support system, and at LEAST half of the time...gotta admit...he's right. Yes, dad, this is us admitting that you're right; that boy/girl is a scumbag, that party was a bad idea, the ants were from the leftover Halloween candy in our room, and we really shouldn't have tried to nurse that rabid squirrel back to health. You're not going to ever hear that out loud, so you better enjoy it while you can. Our stepdad always cheers us on through our dumbest ideas, and we could not love him enough for that.

So thanks, Dad. Thanks for always being there for us. We couldn't have asked for a better stepdad, and we are so happy that you walked into our lives when you did. You might not be our father by blood, but you are our father by heart and by choice. You decided to take care of us when we needed you most, and if that isn't love, we're not exactly sure what is. We know we don't always show our appreciation in the best way, and we're kinda difficult to deal with, but thanks for putting up with us anyways. We love you.

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