Poem to my Stepdad

Losing a loved one is never easy

This was my contribution to my stepfather’s obituary…

You took me in your arms from the gentle age of 2
Sugar is what you always asked for, giving the same in return
At 5 you made the promise permanent, “I will always love you”
Crumbs require a lot of attention, we would soon learn

We had our share of ups and downs
My teenage years were rough to say the least
It was a time of many frowns
You never stopped caring, even when I acted like a beast

“Gimme some sugar,” you would say to me
“Okaaaay,” was my reluctant reply
With a kiss on the cheek you were pleased as could be
You’d plant a huge one on mine in the blink of an eye

We may not have always agreed
Or seen eye to eye, but you were there
Whenever I was in need

You were many things to many people
A husband, a father, a brother, a friend
The impact you made is something remarkable
To this little girl, you were simply a my dad

Love,
Kimberly a.k.a. “Crumb Cakes”

Who’s Ya Daddy?

This topic really hits home. I was the screwed up child with an abusive stepfather and very absent father. Had it not been for my grandfather and my adopted father taking the time to love on me, I don’t know where I would be. My misfortune was having an absentee father. My blessing was, and still is that I had a very present grandfather and adoptive father. However great my blessings, I have never been able to negate the sadness I felt behind not having my father. Never in a million years did I want my children to experience the loss and pain I did at not having my father around.

Fast forward to December 1999…my grandfather passes away. January 2000 I met my kids father. It was a textbook case. Troubled girl seeking to heal pain with the love(lust) of a man. Things were great in the beginning, as they always are. Once the twins came and he did not step up to the plate, that’s when the poo hit the fan. We fought, argued, and fought some more. We were prime for an episode of Jerry Springer with our Baby Mama/Baby Daddy drama. Fast forward…2 restraining orders, 1 child support order, and me winning sole legal and physical custody despite his antics in court and we are current.

The twins are now 11 and doing well. Overall they are happy, healthy, smart, and talented. In a nutshell, they are blessed and highly favored by God. To know them is to love them. With all the accolades, extracurricular activities, trophies, and tremendous outpour of love and support from family and friends there is still a gaping hole in their lives…the absence of their biological father. They would look for him at their karate class and tournaments, football and baseball games, performances, swim practice, birthdays, and holidays. The great misfortune for them is that he is never there. He neither answers phone calls or returns any messages. It matters not the great urgency in the message or its magnitude…he does not pick up his phone. Keeping a promise would be like Prince wearing green. He spends more time with his young girlfriend(who, by the way, is so young I can see the Similac dripping from her ears) than his own children.

Three years ago I met and started dating this wonderful man from my church. I admit, he was not the type of man I was accustomed to dating. As I would later discover, he was exponentially better! Fast forward to present day and we are now planning our wedding. He has children as well, so I thought this would be a little tricky. However, I was pleasantly mistaken. We’re the present day Brady Bunch. Our children all get along great. My children absolutely adore him and have taken to calling him “dad”. At first, I did not think this to be prudent and was very hesitant. I discussed this with my fiance’ and my children. He was okay with it from the beginning. I know now that he has always intended to marry me. Upon speaking with my children, I was taken aback by my daughter’s wisdom and maturity for her age. Out of her own mouth, “Mommy, when we call our dad he never picks up and never calls us back. When we call Mr. [Fiance’] he answers the phone and returns our calls. We spend more time with him than our own dad. He’s more of a dad to us than dad.” Now how could I argue  with such logic coming from the mouth of my then 8-year-old daughter? I couldn’t, but I had to at least play devil’s advocate. After all, the dad they have has broken their hearts multiple times. The emotional trauma caused by their absent father displays in their behavior regularly. Why would I allow this man to play the role, then deal with more trauma once he decides my family is too much for him to handle? This man has no bond or tie to my children. There is nothing to make him stay. He can up and leave at any moment and there would be nothing I could say or do. Countless scenarios played in my mind while I wrestled with this day after day. Maybe in time it would work itself out. He would leave before my kids became attached and everything would be okay. Or maybe my kids would change their mind and listen to reason. Eventually, a decision had to be made, and it was. In the end, we all won…they got their dad.

In the time that I was dating my fiance’, every imaginable challenge arose, and some my mind was was not capable of envisaging. Several hospital stays, doctor visits, therapist appointments, DCFS appointments, and court dates later…he is still here by our side. In fact, he has been here through everything. The Lord has blessed my children and I with a dad, a strong man, a God-fearing man who loves his family and adores my children as his own. Blending families is difficult enough without the added challenges mine brings. Forget baggage, we come with a veritable cornucopia of luggage that would put Coach to shame. My God has seen fit to take care of us through it all and continues to show His love. My children have the dad I have prayed for, and I have a mate, a partner who blesses me, loves me, and lifts me up. Here I am, after struggling to raise my children without a constant and strong male figure in their lives, and no child support being blessed more than I could have imagined. Y’all don’t know! Any other man would have run for the hills with all the madness I have to endure. This man right here…this man of God that I have been blessed with is STILL HERE and WANTS to stay. Either his crazy or a sucker for punishment, LOL. He’s mine and I love him. He completes me…he is the missing piece to my puzzle. I thank God for him!

Yes, my children’s biological father is a deadbeat, absentee father, full of drama, immature, childish, and irresponsible; that is my mistake for being with him. So what! My children have been blessed with an even better dad, siblings, and more family who love and support them.

How many dads does your child have? How did your blended family come together and what hurdles did you have to overcome? How do your children accept and relate to your spouse? How is God blessing your family?