If you do a Google search on country songs about stepdads, you’ll be looking for a while. Brad Paisley’s “He Didn’t Have To Be” will pop up…it’s arguably the best one in the category. But to those of us who are lucky enough to have a stepfather, you wouldn’t search for stepdad songs.You’d just search for songs about DAD…and there are tons of great country songs about DADS, right?
My stepfather married my mom when I was six years old. He knew that my sister and I would be his only children.There would never be a namesake. Marrying my mom meant he was marrying all three of us. And as cliché as it sounds, he has always treated us as if we were his own daughters.
His name is Doug. I call him “Dougie.” I remember asking him if it was okay if I called him “Dad”. He calmly said that I could call him anything that made me happy. I think “Dougie” was always my own way of calling him “Daddy”. To this day, I still call him “Dougie.".
This is the man that took me to the pool and actually got in and played with me. He taught me how to play softball. He never said no when I asked him to have a catch with me…and I asked a lot. He was the one who sat at the kitchen table and helped me with my math homework. He helped me make posters when I ran for student council. He taught me how to drive a stick-shift. He and my mom put me through college. He walked me down the aisle when I got married. And he’s the one who instilled in me the importance of always trying to do the right thing. He’s also the one who drove me home after my brain surgery a few months ago. I was sitting in the passenger seat and I remember just reaching over and holding his hand. No words needed. I was going home…I was alive. And I had my dad right next to me…just like he’s always been right there for me.
I’ve never heard him swear. He’s the kindest most loving human being. I love how he loves my mom. He always does the right thing. He’s well respected and he’s the smartest man I know. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t thank God for him and think about how my quality of life is the best because he’s in it.
Parenting is hard. It’s a roller coaster of a learning process. And I think it’s easy to believe that our patience with our children comes from the fact that they are a product of us. Our blood…our DNA. But that’s simply not the case at all.
Children need love, support, structure, guidance, discipline and understanding. Being a great parent to a child that isn’t biologically yours takes a huge heart and a kind of selflessness that I think very few of us on this earth possess. There’s no room for an ego. It’s thankless at times. It’s often taken for granted, I think. And it takes some kind of super power that I think God instills only in the best of the best human beings.
And that’s why Spencer and I wanted to make sure that on this Father’s Day, all of the stepdads know how much we see you - and we appreciate you. You’re a different breed. You’ve done an incredible job...you’re DOING an incredible job.
And if, as I said before, you’re lucky enough to have a stepfather, don’t just sign your name to the card. Take a moment to share your favorite memory with him. Tell him how important he is to you. Make sure to say thank you. Give him a hug that lasts a few seconds longer.
As far as my dad Doug is concerned, remember when I said he would have no children to carry on his name? That’s actually not the case. He does have a namesake - it’s Connor Douglas Gates…my oldest child.
Happy Father's Day!
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