Thank you. A million times over, thank you.

I would not be the person I am today without your influence, support, and presence in my life. You may not be my biological father, but you stepped in and have been my father by choice.

This Father’s Day and every day…

I want to thank the man who became my Father by Choice

Dear Stepdad,

Thank you for never giving up.

First, thank you for never giving up. I remember what a brat I was in high school, and I know it couldn’t have been easy, especially on your marriage. Your persistence and determination have not gone unnoticed. I probably deserved for you to write me off long ago, but you refused to give up. Thank you for always loving me.

Thank you for never believing you weren’t my real dad.

I’m sure I wasn’t the only one to tell you that you weren’t my real dad when I was growing up, but you are, you always have been. “Real” isn’t determined by DNA. You’re the one that’s been there and supported me my entire life. Thanks for never believing you weren’t my dad. I finally came around and understood; I really appreciate your patience while I learned that lesson.

Thank you for supporting me financially.

How gracious that you worked from before sun up to after sun down to support our family and I’m not even “yours.” How selfless that you gave your hard-earned money to put me through school, to take me with you on your travels, and to every other less glamorous but more critical necessity you provided to me throughout my life (food, shelter, transportation, etc.).

Thank you for supporting me emotionally.

As I’ve gotten older, it’s become painfully obvious to me how selfless of a father you’ve been to me our entire life together. From elementary school fun to teenage hormones and drama to walking me down the aisle on my wedding day, you’ve been a constant paternal presence, providing guidance, support, and love consistently.

Thank you for providing an example of what a father looks like.

I can’t thank you enough for showing me what a father looks and acts like. You’ve raised my siblings and me to be confident, successful people, and you’ve taught us how to raise brilliant children and how to love unconditionally. You respected your children, biological or not, and you provided for us equally. Your love is unwavering and unceasing.

Thank you for providing an example of what a husband looks like.

Until you came along, I hadn’t seen an example of a healthy, successful relationship. I didn’t know what it took to be a great partner or what an endless love looked like. You’ve shown my mother grace, respect, and kindness, and you’ve shown me how a gentleman acts and how to fight for what matters. You’re a wonderful man and husband.

Thank you for loving my mom.

My mom is so lucky to have you. Thank you for loving her the way she deserves to be loved. You support her dreams, respect her beliefs, and encourage her every pursuit. You are the love of her life, and she’s a better person because you’re by her side.

Thank you for loving me.

I am also a better person because you’re in my life. Your love has taught me that DNA doesn’t make a parent. Being there, never giving up, and dealing with both the highs and the lows, that’s what makes you a parent. You’ve been a consistent presence in my life since I was a young child and supported all of my endeavors, always believing I could do whatever I set my mind to.

Stepdad: Father by choice

You helped me unpack my first home and complete repairs, visited my job and discussed career development with me, and have gotten to know and given me your approval for the man I plan to spend the rest of my life. You have truly been instrumental in my success and happiness in life. Thank you.

To borrow a line from Brad Paisley:

I hope that one day I’m half the parent you didn’t have to be.

-xoxo-

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