My mom frequently talks about what she expected when my sister and I were little. She figured my sister (who’s eight years older than me) would be her tomboy, while I would be her little princess. That didn’t happen.
Oh sure, there are pictures of me wearing dresses with my hair curled—and I’m pouting like someone just told me Santa Claus was dead. The pictures of me with my cowboy boots, jeans, Good n’ Ready T-shirt, and hat are the ones with me grinning. I blame my stepdad.
I was very young when he married Mom, so even though my dad was in my life, I was around my stepdad more. He took me on jobs with him (he drove 18-wheelers back then) and I’d always pretend we were being chased by the police. *cough* I had a Smoky and the Bandit fetish back then.
Through the years, he taught me how to clean the mud off my cowboy boots, how to play baseball, how to shoot, how to drive a tractor (although driving a stick shift vehicle was beyond his patience), and he thought I was hilarious. When my mom freaked out over my tattoo, my stepdad looked at it and said, “I could’ve got it for you for free.” He would glare at me when I yelled at football games, and I would glare at him when he shouted at the news.
Our relationship was rocky at times and smooth as glass at others, but I never forgot how much he loved me. As far as he was concerned, I was his daughter and he never treated me differently. I miss him terribly, but I can look back at those pictures of me sitting with him in his big rig with a grin.
He might not have been my father by blood, but he was my father by the depth of love and knowledge he passed down to me. There are so many things that remind me of him from my horrible hand writing (what he commonly referred to as “chicken scratch”) to my adamant refusal to answer the telephone after 8 p.m. (a habit he was in and I picked up).
This is for Richard, the best dad a tomboy could ever have.
Wonderfully written column, Danica.
And, BTW, I don’t answer the phone after 8 o’clock either.
Did you get any writing encouragement from him also? I’m guessing yes.
Thanks, Jeff. He thought I could do anything I put my mind to. I didn’t start writing seriously until a few years after his death, but I think he’d be proud and say, “I knew you weren’t dumb” 😉
This is great- I always love men that are able to love their spouse’s children as their own. So wonderful and special for you. I’m glad you had him in your life – he helped make you into the wicked cool woman that you are!!!
LOL, yes, he’s part of the reason I had to sit down recently and give myself “handwriting” lessons so I (and others) could understand my “chicken scratch” LOL
What a great tribute! Again, I love your way with words.
Thank you 🙂
Seems like we somehow end up with the people in our life who do us the most good, doesn’t it? So glad you had your step-dad, Richard. Hubby and I raised a combined family, and the weird thing with us was his boys would listen to me before they would him; and mine would listen to him before they would me. My children’s biological father died recently, and they made a special trip to tell Steve (hubby) that they loved their father but knew who their ‘real Dad’ was: him. The man cried like a baby. My youngest told me she’d be devastated if anything ever happened to him. So I know how special that step-parent bond can be.
Lovely tribute, Danica. It’s all about the love!
Thanks, Runere. That’s exactly what it is, love. He loved me and my sister (and was actually easier on us than he was his own son) without reservations. That’s a precious gift and we count ourselves lucky that we had him for as long as we did.
Aww! (for Steve) I’m glad your children told him that.