I battled for the most of my life over two terms: Dad and Father. What was the difference? Most people called their fathers, Dad… but then again most people didn’t spend their time obsessing over this. I guess I was different because I had a father and a stepfather.
My father, ever since my stepfather came into my life, would always remind me that “He is not your father” and my stepfather would tell me that “I won’t ever be your father and I’m not trying to replace him”. Although I was happy that they were both on the same page without trying to do so… I still felt like a broken record with no real answer.
But in my teenage years, my question was finally answered. After my father discovered my sexuality he lashed out at me and attempted to force me to be something I was not. At the time, all I wanted was a father that accepted me and loved me, unconditionally. Until I realized I already had that: my stepfather told me that he loved me and couldn’t care less if I brought a giraffe home!
Looking back, I think I always knew the difference I just felt conflicted about it: isn’t your father usually your dad too? In my case, he wasn’t. The title “Dad” is one that has to be earned. A Dad helps you with your homework, knows all your favorite movies and books, remembers all your friend’s names and loves you no matter what.
Because no matter how many times we fought, no matter how many times he yelled or was ready to throw in the towel with me; I have always been his daughter even if it is by marriage.
The funny thing is, is that I never really had a stepdad… he was the Dad who stepped up.