Happy Father's Day

I had a throw back photo to post but I'm having technical difficulties. This is still one of my favorites.

I don't remember the day I met my stepdad, Ron. You see, I have a very decent memory. I remember most things, specifically certain details that always seem mundane or insignificant. I wouldn't say it's flawless or always accurate but generally I can be trusted to be a good historian. So when I say I can't remember meeting this important figure in my life, my first reaction was surprise and maybe a little bit of disappointment. I was 5, which means memories are indeed select and harder to come by given the age and how long ago it was, but still, wouldn't you think it would be momentous? 

As I got to thinking more about it, I started to think about my mom and my brother, two of the very most important people in my life. I don't remember meeting them either. I was only 11 months old when I met Dusty and well, with my mom I met her in utero I suppose, haha. 

The thing about those 3 relationships is that they are solid. They are my rocks. For as long as I can remember they have been there. For everything. And that, indeed, may be the crux of  it. I was raised with so much love and support from my parents that I am positive I have taken them for granted. With these two individuals, they loved me so much that I never had to chase, ask, or beg for their love. They gave it freely. They raised me to be such a secure individual that I never had to wonder if I was wanted. THAT is something, no, more than something, it's EVERYTHING. 

But back to my dad, Ron. I am not an expert on blended families but I will tell you what I know. 

Watching my dad leave when I was 4 was hard. I was loved by him and I loved him right back. Though as a child I couldn't articulate it or even fully understand, I knew my dad struggled to be a father. He struggled to be a partner to my mom. I didn't see him consistently. I didn't always know when I was going to see him next. I knew on some level that we were safer and better supported we were with Mom. But I loved him. He was my dad.

 So when Ron moved in, I really don't know how I initially felt about it. I remember nothing but positive feelings. I was excited to have a sister. I remember how exciting it was that he came with a trampoline! And he wore these super cool yellow parachute pants that reminded me of MC Hammer. I liked that he sang in a band. He had a cool motorcycle and a truck. He made my mom laugh. All of it felt good. 

Over the years he was always there. He was there when I watched my first scary movie. He built us the coolest tree house ever. He is the master at moving the pinata around when you're trying to swing it. He had a cool parachute that we used as a canopy. He was there when my dad would meet Dusty and I in Mountain Home, which was our meeting point between Boise and Twin Falls. I remember him being nice to my dad. I remember my dad asking me is he was a good guy and if he loved our mom. I remember emphatically telling him yes. 

The dynamics were more challenging back then, though as a kid I don't think I really understood. I had this strong desire to not "betray" my dad by becoming too close to Ron. Ron was always Ron, calling him Dad seemed out of the question. When I was younger I always said "my mom and stepdad" instead of my parents. No one ever told me what to say or how to say it. And as a kid, things are so much easier when it's black and white. I called my sister "step" for a long time too. I also wasn't sure if I could refer to Ron as Dad because he was my sister's dad, and I didn't want to "take him away." Maybe I felt like I needed to add the labels so people around me knew who was who. I am positive I overthought it. I am positive I hurt feelings. I am positive my feelings got hurt, too. Words seem inconsequential but they powerful. I know I didn't always do or say the "right" thing but as an adult, I try to do my best. 

Over time though the "step" started to fall away. It really wasn't necessary anymore. Referring to him as Dad became a lot easier, too. In my late teens and early 20's, my brother and I had several conversations about who Ron is to us and how that relationship is different than the one with our Dad. I came to realize that it was really easy to put my dad on a pedestal. He died when I was 14. I only knew him as a child. I never got to really see him as a person, but rather the way a child see their parents, through mostly rose-colored glasses. 

Ron, on the other hand, I got to know and am lucky enough to still continue getting to know. Ron is the kind of guy who will comb your hair and put it in a braid for you. He's the kind of guy who will buy a model rocket, put it together with you, and then go launch it in the park. He's the kind of guy who can (and will) fix anything that is broken. He also will scrub the tar out of your skin when you crash your bike on a freshly tarred road. He will go to every choir concert. He'll help you make a volcano for science class. He will teach you how to draw. He will help you with your math homework. He will buy you a car and fix it up for you. He will teach you how to drive that car at the fairgrounds, being patient while stalling a standard VW bug over and over again. He will threaten your boyfriends to not break his little girl's heart. He will help you move, all 9,500 times in about 5 years. He will also go to all of your graduations, all 3 of them in 5 years, cheering loudly for you. He will answer your call for anything at all. He will befriend your husband. He'll walk you down the aisle. He'll be the grandpa to your fur babies. He'll be the most important man throughout your life, the one that has and will be for you more than any other, if you let him. And I am so, so, so glad I did. 

Without question Ron is my dad. I would not be who I am without him. 

It's a running joke in my family that usually the stuff I write makes my mom cry. Mom, I want you to know that I cried while I wrote this. 

I love you, Dad. 


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