Phil was my second husband, and not the father of my three children. Though not biologically related to my kids, Phil was what I like to think of as their Everyday Dad.
After he died my kids were often told, "At least your real Dad didn't die." Once in awhile I heard people make the comment, "Oooohhhh, he was their Step-Dad," as if this revelation meant that the pain of his death was lessened by the fact that Phil's relationship to them was not created by genetics. Over the years my kids have been slighted repeatedly by friends, relatives, and kindly strangers...because these well-meaning people didn't know the importance of my kids’ everyday dad.
Our Everyday Dad would run to my youngest son's baseball games in order to fit the kid’s sports schedule into his workouts.
Our Everyday Dad made up ridiculous names for household objects like dorks, wifes, floop floops, and dippers.
Our Everyday Dad liked to surprise our mother with the feats that the kids could accomplish like hiking to the top of a very high rock, doing wheelies off the curbs on our street, or riding the dirt bike in the backyard.
Our Everyday Dad would slip us an extra $20 when we were going out with our friends.
Our Everyday Dad took us to movies, roller rinks, and out for rides on ferris wheels.
Our Everyday Dad bought a trampoline and bounced on it as much as we did.
Our Everyday Dad was silly, fun loving, and always jumping out from behind things to scare us.
Our Everyday Dad took us trick or treating on Halloween.
Our Everyday Dad taught us the meaning of hard work, personal loyalty, and service above self.
Our Everyday Dad got mad when we left socks in the living room, forgot to put our dishes in the sink, or used one of his tools without returning it.
Our Everyday Dad explained things to us in words we could understand.
Our Everyday Dad loved our mom, and we knew it.
So on this week of Father's Day I salute the many men who are raising children that came to them because they loved these children's mother. Love is love and being a parent is more than just the ability to trace your genetics to a particular family tree. My children were, and continue to be, blessed to have their lives shaped by a man who loved them everyday.