F

atherís Day isnít just a celebration for biological fathers.

The day is also a huge shout out to all the men who step up and take on the responsibility of raising children. As one who has a stepfather and is currently a stepfather, Fatherís Day is special to me.

There are a lot of things I didnít know about my stepdad until the day I became one. I didnít understand the thin line he walked between being the father figure I needed and not giving the impression he was trying to replace my biological father. My stepfather came into my life when I was 12 and he accepted me as his own from the beginning. At the time, I didnít appreciate the effort he put into earning my trust. As an adult, Iím thankful for the time my stepdad put into nurturing my inner nerd and sports junkie.

It taught me that with my own stepchildren, it takes real work to make it work. My daughter is a dancer and some of my inner nerd has rubbed off her. My son loves computers and playing video games, so much so that he is going to college in the fall for a computer science degree.

Being a stepfather has been the toughest job of my life. Iíve made mistakes and learned a lot too. There have been times when I wanted to pull out my hair as I tried to connect, but I wouldnít change a thing about the relationship I have with my stepchildren.

Iím proud beyond words of the young adults my children have become. Being a part of their lives and watching them grow up is bittersweet. I miss them as they continue to grow and gain independence, but Iím grateful for having the opportunity to share in their lives.

To all stepfathers, fathers and people who have stepped into the role as dad to a child, be proud, youíve fulfilled a vital role.