Let me start by saying, I have known my father my entire life. I know many things about him. My mother and he were high school sweethearts. They had three girls together.. and divorced when I was around 4. I know where he lives. His middle name. What type of work he does. What he looks like. What his laugh sounds like. That he would rather be fishing then doing anything else. I have listened to his stories from when he was younger. Spent time over Holidays with that side of my family.. and made some fun memories.
But what I also know to be true is, he is JUST a father... NOT a Dad.
A Dad ( in my eyes ) is a man. A man who steps up for his kids. Who shows out for his kids. Works his ass off to provide for those babies. Makes sure he is there for every Birthday to make it a big deal and cook their favorite meal. Helps with math homework. Doesn't miss a cheer leading competition or dance recital. Let alone the chance to teach his children life skills like learning to drive ( no matter how many times they back into things )or how a bank account works. He hugs his daughter and wipes her tears when she has her first broken heart. He shows her how she should be treated by men (by treated I mean SPOILED). He teaches her how to filet fish after he has been out catching them all day. Teaches her how to shoot whiskey while listening to all the classics blaring on the radio. Cries as he walks her down the aisle and gives her away. THAT is a Dad.
Jojo has been around since I was 5. I can't imagine my life without him. He is one of my favorite people to talk too, laugh with, and spend time with. He keeps my momma happy and IS the grill master.
For starters, you are probably wondering why I call him Jojo and not Dad. That is because he wanted my dad to have a fair shot at having a hand in raising me. We all became a blended family while my sisters and I were so young. He didn't want to step on his toes. He was being respectful and letting him know he was there to help, not takeover.
For years I would make comments to Joe " Well at least your my Dad."
Joe would quickly come back with " You have a Dad. I am your step dad."
Again, not to be mean, but to make it clear that I did, in fact have "a dad."
That would upset me and piss me off to no end. Why didn't Joe want to be my dad? Why would he always remind me that he wasn't my dad? Especially considering my real "Dad" knew NOTHING about me. What was so wrong with me that there are TWO men in my life and neither wanted to be "Dad."
There were plenty of times growing up that I would call my father and arrange to go visit with him. I would drive out there and spend the day. BUT, I was ALWAYS the one calling. I was ALWAYS the one making the effort. It honestly was just so damn exhausting to try and make someone love me.
Then we lost Nicole ( in 2011) -- we were all broken. I tried so hard to mend whatever weird, non existent relationship I had with my father. But, within the year it withered away to nothing. That is me being polite about the situation.
It honestly wasn't until a few years ago, Joe finally agreed he WAS my Dad. That my biological father missed his chance to be in my life. That I WAS his daughter. Joe had been my Dad all along. And we both knew that. It was just nice to finally hear him say it too.
It amazes me how many people have children that they don't care about. They don't care to talk to them or watch them grow. They don't have their best interest in mind. I just don't understand how that works.. I didn't birth my niece or nephew..but I was there when they came into this world. And I'll be damned if you think I am not going to be involved in EVERY. LITTLE. THING they do!
To the parents out there who don't give a shit - THANK YOU - for allowing other people to love and raise your kids FAR better then you ever could have!
Ashley ( and JoJo)