I am writing this letter to you as an adult child who has recently lost their step dad. You matter. Sometimes you may feel overlooked, or unseen; especially on Father’s Day, but I’m here to tell you that your impact is lasting. On a regular basis you look into eyes that don’t look like yours, and may wonder if they’ll ever understand the love you have for them. They will.
Maybe you are in the hard years. The years where it seems nothing you say or do is right. Eye rolling and sarcasm may be happening on a daily basis. I just want to encourage you to keep showing up. Keep being cheesy, and keep having the hard conversations, because they need you more than they realize right now.
Maybe you are in the indifferent times where it seems like they couldn’t care less if you were there or not. They walk past you without speaking, giving you the impression that your presence doesn’t matter. Right now it seems like no matter how hard you try to engage, they shut you out without even uttering a word. This will pass. The sweet spot is coming.
Maybe you have always had an awesome relationship with your stepchildren and don’t know what it’s like to be compared to a biological parent, whether they are absent or involved. Either way, you took the time to nurture a relationship with a child that you chose to love. A child or children you choose to love every day, especially the hard days.
Your impact on your stepchildren is remarkable. You have taken over a blueprint that was interrupted. You are showing them what it looks like to love their mother. What it looks like to be a dad. What it looks like to love a family unit that was ready made when you walked into it. Keep showing up.
There are so many things I learned from my step dad, but the one that most let me know he cared for me like I was his child, was that he kept showing up. Even during the hard times. He showed up when he wasn’t appreciated. He was always there ready to pick up the pieces when something fell through. He coached teams, practiced with us, and attended every sporting event and teacher conference, because he cared. He showed up even if we didn’t show him we appreciated it.
So, from one stepchild to all the valuable step dads out there, you are appreciated, and you are loved.