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.