I have a second dad. He's always encouraged me, and sometimes he even nags me just a bit, but he usually does it with a sense of humor. He's always walked the walk when he told me to go to school, buckle down and finish my degree. During the time I've known him he did just that himself and is now a vice president of a large company with enormous responsibilities and the respect of his peers.
I met him when I was sixteen and dating his stepson. My mom was his stepson's English teacher. My mom and his stepson both passed away unexpectedly within three weeks of each other when I was only seventeen. My mom had been sick. His stepson had not, but both losses left me empty.
They adopted me....Pops and his wife....in every way but legally when they could have just easily and understandably turned inwardly to focus on their own grief. My father was extremely grateful for the parenting back up since he was grieving himself and feeling quite lost.
Pops and his wife wanted me to move in with their family and made sure my head was on straight when they kicked me out next year (sending me straight to the dorms and my freshman year of college at the local university.) When senior year rolled around and I was living beyond my means, I moved back in for a year. Of course then I got a job and my first apartment and moved out (but not without a little parental prodding to send me on my way and make sure I was okay.)
Pops and his wife (she's my second mom, but today is about Pops, although I'll definitely tell her story one day) have always been there for the heartaches and the triumphs. When my grandparents died, when my father died.... they were there.... When I was crowned Miss Deaf Tennessee they were cheering loudly, and I'm pretty sure they had their hands in the air along with the rest of the crowd. Graduation day? Their relief and pride were beyond words.
I eventually moved to Texas to "see the world". I became quite independent. A few years later when I told them I was getting married, Pops first question...."Who's giving you away?" They gave me the wedding of my dreams, and Pops did just what he wanted to do for years and years... He gave me away. Of course I've always found my way back home to Pop's house over the years. Now I just take a husband, a stepdaughter, and son with me. The kids call him Poppy, and they adore him too.
Happy Father's Day, Pops!
I love you!