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Challenge: What Do Fathers Do Best?

Dads Take It On The Chin (Even If They're Not THE Dad)

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Izzy (then age 7) and Scott on a "Team" trip to the Hamptons

My boyfriend and I have been together for almost 8 years and he has helped me raise all three of my kids. My oldest is 15 and my twins are 12 and he taught each of them how to ride their bikes, how to rollerblade, and assisted each of them in building kick-ass volcanos for Science Lab. He listens to all of their problems, goes to all of their games, and buys them frozen yogurt with extra toppings when they lose. He even talked my son through his first little broken heart. He enforces chores, doles out consequences, and is all-too-often the target of the tweenage, hormone-fueled frustrations that rage under our roof. We're a team.

But, nobody thinks of him as "dad."

When my kids' friends come over to our house they ask, "Is that your dad?" and my kids say "No. That's just Scott." Invariably, the friend shrugs and gives a confused wave before moving on down the hall towards the XBox. And you know what? I feel a little bad for him every time they do. Not because they should call him Dad - we both agree on that. They already have a dad they see on Sundays and for dinner once a week. But after giving up eight years of his own life to be whined at, puked on and giving up his only chance to ever have his own kids to raise mine with me, he deserves to be called something more than "just Scott."

It's hard to be a dad. But it can be even harder to NOT be a dad. To not get the cards on Father's Day. To not have the children you care for think of you as family, and to let the man who does a fraction of what you do take the credit for these kids you've raised.

So I just want to take a moment and say "thank you" to all of the wonderful boyfriends and step-fathers who raise someone else's children like their own.

he takes them for frozen yogurt with extra toppings when they lose soccer games.

He goes to the park to play soccer, he was there to talk my son through his first broken heart

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