He cooks your meals, starts your car in the morning when it is cold, and has dinner with your boyfriend. Takes you on fancy vacations, checks your oil, and hugged you tight when dad announced he was going into hospice. He has helped your mom in too many ways to count…and held her up through the imaginable of this summer as she struggled to hold you up at that time.
He’s your step-dad. One of the most thankless positions in the world. Especially three months after your own father has died.
Your reactions to his actions are understandable. Even under the best of circumstances the eye rolling and “whatever” are understandable and expected. Since we are operating under the worst of circumstances right now it is all good. We are getting by in the day-to-day. The dust has settled but now reality sets in. There is no more busy with things to take care of and move – there is a just a reality.
But, let’s practice a little gratitude for all he does…after all, your dad would have wanted that. Yes, I just played the “dad would have wanted that” card. Your dad actually took the chance to talk to him at the end…and said clearly “I so respect you as a man.” To which your stepfather replied “I’ll do whatever I have to do to help Jen and the girls.” There was a silent passing of the father baton in their short exchange. They both new the gravity and reality of the situation. Your father was staring at the guy I had chosen to stand in for him in the future. That concept is overwhelming even for the most balanced adult.
So now, it is time to get your shit together girls…
He knows you want your dad back, heck, we all do. Your dad was one of a kind and one of the nicest guys in the world. We know how much you loved him and how much your relationship meant. He was your buddy and you loved sharing concerts, watching tv together, and a whole host of things I don’t do with you. And, also time to take a quick look at this situation from his perspective – you living with us full-time has been show stopper on many levels. He happily adjusted…now time for you to just adjust.
But, in our new reality, stepdad has “got your dad’s back.” It was his promise to your father. He will never take his place or overstep his bounds. But, when you need some oversight from a father’s perspective, he will be the one there to make sure you are ok, safe, your room is clean and your chores are done. He’s pretty good at responsibility. He will be there when you need him, but will happily also sit in the wings if you are more comfortable. He doesn’t want to be your father – “new daddy” is not a thing for him. But he did make your dad a promise that day, and he is a man of his word.
Being nice to him isn’t cheating on your father. A “thank you” is simply respecting the fact that he is carrying some of your dad’s job – and I can assure you, your father is grateful.
To be fair he is a whole lot to handle. He is relentless about keeping the house clean and has a peculiar preoccupation with the way the dishwasher is loaded, refrigerator organized and garbage is handled. Whatever…you have your own ticks as well. As we say, welcome to the world of living with other people.
While all the focus is on you, remember his life has significantly changed as well. He’s a good guy, takes amazing care of me, and welcomes you with open arms even though you scowl in his direction.
We love you cupcake.