Writers Workshop: The Good Dad

1.) Father’s Day is coming! Share something you’ve learned from your husband about parenting. What makes him good at what he does?

What I can say about my husband’s parenting? It is ALWAYS done in kindness and fairness. He is not quick to anger. He does not yell out demands. He’d rather hug than hit. Give than take. And when the chips are down…..he will be there for you. He doesn’t waver in what he believes in. And he teaches our kids that respect and politeness are not just traits of a nice person, but a way to live.

My husband also taught me a lot about step-parenting. I get to SEE my childhood lived out through his relationship with my daughter. She was older when she met him (14), but it didn’t seem to make a difference in their relationship. She was very protective of him from the first time she met him (and still is). She didn’t want me to tease nice Jason, or be mean to nice Jason. We have a love meter (pre-marriage counseling days) on the fridge that she always checks to make sure it’s not on empty, and if so, WHAT am I doing to poor Jason??? Seriously, this is MY biological kid.

I was a little surprised by a teen’s bond to their stepfather, but as I watched over the four years, I can see how their relationships mirrors the one I had with my step dad (minus the good teen years).

I didn’t appreciate all the things my dad (step) did for me (until I was older). But SHE really gets it and appreciates it. Blows me away.

He took her practice driving – many times – while she was training for her license. He took her school clothes shopping, when I had to work and couldn’t take her. He helped her with MATH, no worse, pre-calc, algebra II, and other yuck stuff – too many times to keep track of.

He bought her a new bedroom set letting her pick it out, so when we moved in with him she had her “own” space. He, also, let her paint the walls in her own space a watermelon pink. He took her to get her license when the time came. He waited in line at the crazy DMV place, watched nervously as she parallel parked, and he celebrated with her when she earned her license and passed.

This year for her graduation and birthday, we used his frequent flyer miles for a trip to California. I used my hotel points for the hotel, and even though money has been non-existent, we squeezed out some spending money for food. That was a great gift for her…made possible by him.

When her car was totaled by a reckless driver earlier this year, she went without for three months. We are 10 miles from the school. I took her to school every day (on my way to work – no biggie). But he LEFT his busy important job (I’m being serious), as he is an IT manager at UTA, to get her from school and take her home – EVERY DAY (for three months). Then, he took her car shopping when she got the insurance money on her wrecked car. They ended up buying a brand new car that will last her through college and beyond. He financed the small amount insurance wouldn’t cover, so she could make the ridiculously low payments on what’s left (which will help her learn budgeting and responsibility). Trusting an eighteen year old – wow.

Through allllll that, do you know how much credit he gets for being her father and taking care of her? Keeping in mind he is just a STEP dad and not a real dad? Yeah. Not much.

Do you know how much he complains? Yeah. Never.

That is the job of a step-parent. You love. You provide. You give and give and give, whether you get it back, or not doesn’t matter. They are YOUR children too and you just love them with all your heart.

That is what he taught me about parenting. It is a self-less job. It a job you take on even if you don’t give birth to that child. It is one that brings great joy, despite any of the circumstances.

Sydney with her dad (left), me, and her step dad (right) at graduation

Sydney – just like me growing up – has a wonderful “real” dad too. Like me, she gets to experience the love and kindness of two wonderful fathers that care and love her with all their heart. I am so happy for her and how that turned out in her life.

Mama’s Losin’ It