When I was picking out my Father’s Day cards, I found all sorts of possible combinations: from daughter to father, from father to grandfather, from son-in-law to father-in-law, even one from the dog (I’m not kidding about that). I did not, however, see any that were geared specifically to a stepdad. It can be a little tricky, picking out the right card for a stepfather. It makes me wonder if the card industry has decided that stepfathers aren’t really family, or maybe they’re just hoping someone will make up a separate Stepfather’s Day so they can cash in even more. In case there’s any question, though, I’d like to lay out the case for why my stepdad is definitely family and should absolutely get a Father’s Day card. I think that, if you read all of my reasons, you’ll end up agreeing—and if any of you work for card companies, maybe you’ll come up with a few card options for next year.
My Reasons For Why My Stepdad Is Family:
1. He went to my school concerts and plays
I took this for granted when I was growing up. If I had a concert, everybody went. That’s just how it was. Now that I’m old enough to
have to be fortunate enough to sit through go to children’s concerts myself, I understand just how much that meant, because those concerts are terrible horrible GODAWFUL. When I was a child, I thought my choir or band or whatever was usually pretty good, and comparatively speaking, we probably were. But that’s like saying that sour milk smells comparatively better than rotten eggs. It may be true, but that’s still really, really bad, and he sat through it over and over and over, knowing how dreadful it was going to be, because he wanted to support me. That’s family.
2. He helped me move
Not just once. Not just when there were elevators. Twice a summer every summer while I was in college, and about a half-dozen times since then, almost always when it was either sweltering or freezing cold with icy rain just to keep things fun. It’s not just help moving furniture, either, it’s cleaning up the apartment (including bathrooms) and fixing leaks and figuring out why that light fixture isn’t working and I don’t even know what else, because he does it all while I’m off doing something easy, and he does it without being asked, which is good because I’d never have the nerve to ask him to do half the things he does. That’s family.
3. He puts up with my pets
I once had a seven-week gap between apartment leases, and I had to ask my mom and stepdad to take the cats in while I rented a room for those seven weeks. I don’t know that I would ever describe my stepdad as a cat person. I think he’s the kind of guy that, if he had to have pets, he would pick a dog, but he’d just as soon not have anything else to have to clean up after. He took the cats in without a murmur, though, and let them have their catty way with his house. I even heard stories of him letting “that brown cat” (my siamese) curl up on his head at night, but I’m not sure I can believe that one without pictures (oh please, Mom, tell me there are pictures!). Subjecting his wall-to-wall carpeting to creatures whose favorite pastime is horking up most of the food they just ate was really testing the limits, but he did it because I needed him to and never once complained. That’s family.
4. I can’t stand the thought of disappointing him
I love my dad. A lot of the things I do, I do because I want him to be proud of me. A lot of the things that keep me up at night are things that would disappoint him. Most of the time, these things motivate me to make good choices (saving for retirement! yay!). Sometimes, not so much (don’t follow that dream! it’s not sensible!). But that’s on me because those are my choices. At the heart of every one of those things that my dad wants for me, and that I want to do to make him proud, is his wish for me to be happy. That’s how you know that someone is family. Underneath all of the fighting and nagging and drama and stress, you all truly want each other to be happy. So I make good choices because I don’t want to disappoint my father, who wants me to be happy, or my stepfather, who wants the same thing. I want to make them both proud because they’re both family.
I defy you to hear those reasons and then tell me that my stepdad doesn’t need a Father’s Day card. As an adopted child with stepparents, I can tell you categorically that blood is neither the beginning nor the end of family. Hallmark and the other greeting card companies just need to get with it. Although, I did find a pretty good card for my stepdad this year. On the front, it asked “Where would I be without you?”, and on the inside it said “Yes, but which prison?” Really, I think that sums it all up, don’t you?
[All images are in the public domain via pixabay.com]