Stepdads aren’t often created after hours of labor or many anticipatory months of pregnancy. Often they don’t experience the sleepless baby nights, diaper changes or learning the artful dodge of projectile baby poop.
This step dad was born was after unpacking a car full of boxes. “Play with me!!” He was immediately initiated into the world of My Little Pony. It was a long-time bachelor now surrounded by three females, two under seven. An instant family. It was slow and cautious at first, taking each other in then sudden acceptance came on father’s day when they thought they should get him a card too.
This stepdad was created after taking vows in front of family and friends to not only love me, his wife, until the end, but to love the kids as well. That was officially the day the stepdad title took hold, but that title was starting the day that car full of boxes was unpacked. Maybe even before that. Maybe it began when he told me he loved me.
Being the stepdad is treating and loving the girls as if they were his own, and respects boundaries, knowing he is a father figure, but not their father.
It's bonding over Minecraft, because God knows I can’t play that game. Or when they wrote out cards inviting us to their tea party. Mine was addressed to ‘My Mama’ and his addressed to ‘My Rick’.
It’s how they look to see if his car is there everytime we come home from school. “I want Rick to be home so we can spend time with him and play on him like he’s a play apparatus!”
It’s bribing them with popcorn and Baskin Robbins. It’s teaching them how to make bagel pizzas and telling them a fantastical story about how he was born in a pizza parlor. And it’s them knowing he is telling a tall tale, but loving it all the same. It’s story time, counting sheep (where sheep jump the fence to go to an amazing BBQ) and sleepy dream dust.
It’s how they serve him their legendary Epic Apple Cider. It how they indoctrinated him into the My Little Pony world, but will only let him be Granny Pony.
But, it’s also having to hear, “You’re not my mom. I want my mom!” It’s having to step back and understand when the girls are out of control and being completely unreasonable.
It’s Star Wars and Legos and being their make-up model. It’s helping her put orange color chalk in her hair so she can look like the perfect Merida for a princess party.
It’s getting used to little kiddos crawling into bed at ungodly hours of the morning. It is being the first aid station, for scraped knees and hurt feelings.
Stepdads are not knighted because of DNA. They are offered a tremendous privilege and the good ones understand the weight and care in which it was offered.
He will never replace their papa. But it’s knowing that being stepdad is being another father figure in their life.
I need to tell him more often how much it means, how it important and wonderful it is that my girls have him as their stepdad.
To all the amazing stepdads out there, Thank You.
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