According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition of Step: “a movement made by lifting your foot and putting it down in a different place”. The definition of Stepfather: “a man that your mother marries after her marriage to or relationship with your father has ended”. I never knew my father and mom did not marry him. I had a stepfather who taught and encouraged me to think about my future. He was a Navy man, that was never home for long. I do not remember any family trips, sporting events or attending church as a family. I remember disputes my mom and stepfather had, yet I never witness anything physical altercations.
My Stepfather never lifted his foot or hand towards me, however he encouraged me by teaching mechanical skills and discussions about my future. One day he asked “have you thought about, military service, I think you should submit to the Naval Academy”. My response was, no sir I want to do something different like the Air Force. He was sad to hear that but he did not insist.
I followed the decision to join the Air Force, served 4 years and often wondered would it been different had I gone to the Naval Academy. Today I am married with 4 children, trying to be the best father I can.
The memories of my stepfather formed my thoughts on being a Father, the only roadmap I had. When things went wrong I blamed my absentee father and never gave credit to my stepfather.
My children are all grown up, working and there are grandchildren. My current situation gives my time to reflect not on what I missed but on how to be the best father- grandfather with my time here.
I encourage fathers, don’t worry so about physical gifts, the time spent in conversations, skill sharing and just loving you children will last forever.
My stepfather lifted his foot and transitioned to a different place when he passed in 1986, he was really not my stepfather because my natural father relationship never ended with my mother, because for me it never started, I never know my father.
And according to the Henry’s dictionary my stepfather was my father. Be encouraged.