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The (Step) Parent He Didn’t Have to Be

During this past Father’s Day, my son’s best friend’s dad asked him who the best dad he knows is. He responded with my husband’s name. This might seem like a sweet thing for a teenage boy to say from the outside looking in. The thing is, this small recognition was enough to bring both my husband and me to tears. My husband has been a step parent for less than three years. In fact, just over six years ago, he was a thirty-something old man without a care in the world. That is, until he met a mom who was knee-deep in a divorce on a dating website.

step parent

Fast forward to today, he isn’t just a stepdad who hangs out in the shadows. He’s a best friend.

Is he my best friend? Of course. But I think my teenage son would also consider him a best friend. Over the years, I’ve witnessed the bond grow firsthand. From YMCA basketball to high school athletics, he’s been on the sidelines for nearly every event. He provides feedback and guidance. Never in a way that would be disrespectful to my ex-husband. He is careful to never overstep. 

He takes an interest in not only my son’s interests but also his friend’s interests. He knows everyone’s favorite teams and which positions they play. When he’s toting them around from sleepovers or practice, he’s one of the boys. He knows how important my son’s friends are so he makes an effort to get to know each of them.

He treats my daughter like a princess. She will never settle for less than a prince charming.

My daughter had just turned six when she met him. He’s been in her life for nearly half of her existence. She’s had him wrapped around her finger from day one. They plan special evenings out, just the two of them. There is no occasion that is too small for a bouquet of flowers. He’s shown her love and kindness that every girl yearns for. They have the type of relationship that I have always wished for with my own father. It really does show that you don’t have to be connected by blood to have a deep parent-child bond.

Best of all, he’s provided the best example of how to be a true partner in every sense of the word.

Our kids are smack in the middle of their middle school and high school years. Anyone who is living in this season of life knows that you trade your daycare pickup and drop-offs for a role as a part-time Uber driver. We are halfway through September and I can count the number of times I’ve had to pick up or drop off either kid for school or an activity. He jumps in, no questions asked. He lets me focus on work, or even just take a few minutes for myself. I ask myself almost daily how I would manage all of the demands of work and parenting without him. I know it would be a STRUGGLE.

For those of you who have blended families, I truly hope your partner is as accepting as mine has been. I know all dynamics are different. And if you’re debating going out on your own but find the thought daunting and terrifying, it is. But know that it is possible to find a partner who will love your kiddos as much as you do!


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