'Twas a few days before Father's Day and all through the house,
Everyone was a sleep except this lively mouse.
I stared at the ceiling, wide awake as could be,
Getting up several times with the urgent need to pee.
But that's not what had me wide-eyed in the night,
It was what transpired a few hours earlier, a very caustic fight
Between a teen at the end of his rope, the victim of course...
Enough with the rhyming. Before the clock struck midnight my son very clearly informed me (who at the time was boiling over with frustration) that I wasn't his dad. I was just his step dad.
Here's a little secret: I've been dreading those words for years.
But I laughed. Can you believe it? Maybe it was a defense mechanism, maybe it was because I had many more words to say than him. Maybe my bottle was corked just a bit tighter than his in my effort to always embrace reason and seek the positive.
But that doesn't mean I didn't react.
The Man caught an adrenaline rush, pushed the Dad and Husband out of the room and stared down flesh not even half my age. The flimsy knife the boy had brought to the Man's gunfight broke against the man's older, wrought-iron skin.
The boy...ahh, the boy...a boy I've known for a very, very long time....the boy in the big body...he's still just a boy...he proved that more than ever before...
Then it was the Man's turn...
But the Wife was there to keep the The Man from pulling his trigger, neutralizing and reminding him where he was and who he also is. She went to find the Dad even though it took her nearly four hours to do so. I assume she probably suffered the most in the midst of the chaos. I apologized, but she insisted I did nothing wrong.
The Wife convinced the Husband to come to bed. But the Man couldn't sleep and the Dad all but disappeared until the sun rose. He washed his face, shaved and emerged to face the day at peace and filled with the awareness of the teachable moment he now stands in and the structure that must now and forevermore be employed. Eerily, I'm at peace. I kinda figured the day would come. You just know as an outsider trying to become an insider (even once you're inside) that the day will come --- whether it's sooner or later. God bless those who've remained unscathed.
I am the stepdad: The dad who STEPPED-UP to do what another man never had the courage to pursue. Although meant as a slight. I actually take it as a compliment. Go figure?
Stepdads STAND UP! Happy Father's Day to you! You have to contend with so much more than those who come by it naturally.
My hat is off to you.