This may sound horrible, but as a kid, I always felt kind of "unlucky" that I had two families. My parents have been divorced most of my life. And my mom remarried when I was 5 and my dad when I was 8 years old. So I've basically always had two moms and two dads - a mom and stepmom and a dad and stepdad.
For my entire childhood I had to split every single birthday, every single Christmas and every single summer vacation between two homes. At the time I felt the only thing cool about it was that I got double the amount of presents.
The older I got, the more I appreciated family and the love that they all had for me and I had for them. I finally realized I was actually lucky that I had four parents - two moms who loved me very much and two awesome dads who would do anything to protect me.
My mom and step dad live close and never missed a game, recital or other event of their grandsons. My step dad loved to take the boys fishing, play pranks on them and tell them jokes. We saw we saw him often and they were very close with him.
Unfortunately my step dad Jim passed away in September unexpectedly and kind of traumatically. It has left a huge hole in our hearts.
This is the first father's day without him.
I never thought it would be this hard.
It's not just hard. It sucks.
Everyone has told me it gets easier, but that days like today will always be hard.
Those boys were his life (there are five of them - I have two and my sister has 3).
I miss his voice. I miss his jokes. I miss his laugh (he had the best laugh).
The community also misses him. He was the driving force behind his hometown's cardboard boat regatta and fourth of July parade and fireworks. A Chicago Tribune article quoted the police Chief of his hometown saying that he's "never seen anyone work so hard [as Jim] simply for the enjoyment of others.” He was named Citizen of the Year in 2015 because of all had done for his community.
My step dad was an all around amazing man. Not only for his community, but more importantly for his family. He treated my mom like a queen from the first day they met; he always treated and loved my sister and I like we were his own daughters; he was a wonderful, kind, loving and generous man. Unfortunately life has to go on without him even though we don't want it to. It's been 8 1/2 months and it feels like it was yesterday.
Today wasn't the most beautiful day. And the past 8 months haven't been very beautiful without him. But life was beautiful with him in it. I'm blessed to have had him as my step dad for 38 years. Those were all beautiful days.