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a man I call dad

3 June 2014

I have been throwing all these words around in my head for the past nearly five months and haven’t been sure how or even when to present them.

As Father’s Day is slowly creeping up on us, I have been mulling them over more and more, though, and I think it might be time.

I am truly blessed.

A lot of young ladies have fun stories of learning to play catch, how to ride a bike, lectures about how boys are dumb (and so on) with their father. I grew up with two dads. I had my biological father, who thankfully always lived really close, and my step-father. This is about my step-father; not because my biological father isn’t great, but because it is time to honor my step-father.

I don’t even remember when he entered my life. He is ever present in my childhood memories. I remember when he and my mom were “dating” (I remember them being really weird about that word.), he used to live down the street with my aunt and uncle. He would walk over every morning for breakfast. Eggs and toast and coffee. If you were into that kind of thing. I wasn’t. They made me a cup of tea. He came to family picnics in the park. He went to the Romans Bible study – the one where us kids would write plays and play dress – up and find silly things to bicker about because we were kids. He came to church with us. It was almost just like he became part of the family as naturally as a leaf becomes part of a tree. Looking back I don’t remember him not being there…

When he married my mom, they got me the most beautiful dress I had ever seen and I got to stand with my mama. And then, from my perspective, the only thing that changed was he started sleeping at our house. I learned after that that he snored really really loud. (Like really really.) So one day when we were spending time with my aunt, uncle, and cousins down the street, my cousin Lisa and I performed this whole “we are in elementary school and have huge imaginations” ritual and he forever became “The Snoring Mummy.” (Don’t ask.) He lived up to it.

He took me to my first baseball game when I was pretty young. That’s where he taught me how to keep score the official way. So when he started playing on the church softball team, I became the score keeper for the team. I even did all the official symbols. He also made sure I could play as well as the boys.

When I was nine or ten, he noticed a significant problem with my life and stepped up to solve it: I didn’t know how to ride a bike. So he bought me a bike and dutifully held it up for me while I peddled it timidly up and down the street. He didn’t let go of it until I was ready (which was probably long after he thought I was ready). And when I finally was ready, he didn’t laugh when I couldn’t figure out how to stop without falling and decided that the only way to stop was ride into a fence. … I did that for a few years. Never once did he laugh at me. He would just pat me on the back and tell me how good I was doing. (In my defense, they got me a full sized bike… Even though I was pretty tall, I was still a few inches short for it.)

He coached soccer for the homeschool micro-league so I could play on a team. He coached an Odyssey of the Mind team so I could compete in that as well. (Unfortunately, I was a brat and fought with him every meeting until eventually I just quit the team because I was so frustrated. He finished out the year anyway.) He drove me to all my dance competitions and recitals. All my piano and bassoon recitals. All my (many many) band, choir, and orchestra concerts. He always had the biggest grins – and often tears in his eyes – of any of the other parents there. Even when I thought I did horribly. I don’t think he missed any of my concerts. And that is saying something – I played in EIGHT different music groups at once three of my high school years. On top of that he made it his personal mission to get me hooked on jazz by taking me to concerts whenever we could find one we could afford. (He succeeded by the way.)

He drove me everywhere. Classes at the community college. Youth group. My friends’. Anywhere I wanted to be, if he had gas in the tank and time in his hands – and sometimes even when he didn’t – he took me.

When David and I started dating, he made it a point to know this new man in my life. When we got engaged, David became his son. When we got married and I told him that I wanted my biological father to walk me down the aisle but I wanted him to be an usher and escort my mother to her seat, he got all choked up and said it would be his honor. I am not sure there was a happier person at our wedding besides David and myself. When I told him we were having a baby last father’s day, he was more excited than anyone else we told. And when our baby died, he was one of the most comforting people I encountered. When we moved out to Oregon, he looked up restaurants for us to try out and made plans for when he was to come visit. When we got pregnant again, he called several times a month to make sure I was getting the nutrients and exercise I needed.

He was making plans to meet his grandbaby when he passed away. Two weeks after he went home to be with Jesus, we found out we are having a boy. And I think the hardest part for me has been knowing his grandpa won’t be around to be his biggest fan like he was for me.

He was a great man and I am so thankful that I was able to call him dad. While I miss him a lot, I know I get to see him again someday and that makes it easier to say goodbye for now.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. 3 June 2014 23:21

    Such a sweet tribute, Danike. Thanks for sharing.

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