Stepdads are put in a weird spot.

They come into your life whether you're ready or not, and they are unsure of how involved to be and how to interact with you in a way that won't offend you or quite frankly just piss you off. My stepdad came into my life when I needed him most. My mom had been let down so many times, we both had given up on love it seemed. Mom has always been super independent and strong. She never needed a man. But then he came along and changed life as we knew it. Thank God he did. We now know that my stepdad is the piece we had been missing.

I am forever thankful for my stepdad, because when he came into my life...

1. He showed me what a true gentleman is.

2. He went out of the way to make me feel special in addition to all of the things he did for mom.

3. He has always been on my side and has stuck up for me when I needed back up.

Even against mom... did I mention he's brave? (kidding, mom).

4. He helped me survive through college.

Whether it was getting me settled into my apartments, telling mom to leave me alone when I had procrastinated on something important, or laughing at/with me throughout all of the stories college creates.

5. He loved us through the worst times.

6. He has taken me on countless "dates" and adventures.

I'm so thankful for all the good conversations we've had over good beer in cool bars I would never think to go to. He never had to bond with me, but he always made it clear that it was important to him.

7. He has cooked for me.

8. He has hugged me through heartbreaks and has comforted me with love and a reality check when I need it most.

9. He has given me so much advice, and has always been dead on about everything.

10. He loves my dog, which doesn't sound like a big deal but it really is.

That was a deal breaker for mom and I. If a guy didn't like our dog, see ya later, buddy. But my stepdad loves my sassy black lab, and that has been everything to us, especially mom because she's obsessed with my dog.

11. He has been cool, calm, and collected in the middle of the chaos that is our family.

He knows when mom and I are hangry or need coffee. It's a gift, really.

12. He loves my mom the way all women want to be loved.