Dad Part Deux
C. Derick Miller – Head Writer
Your Stories on Video
It’s been many moons since I was tasked with putting one of my children to bed. My youngest one is almost twenty-one years old and taking care of business as a professional hacker for the United States Army in Hawaii! Still, it’s good to know that some things never change no matter how much the world around us evolves.
As we discussed last time, my wife in currently in Boston training to be General Manager of the largest fine art logistics company in the world. Now, since my stepson’s biological father is away (nice choice of words) on business in Colorado, I’m sitting at home every night this week doing things I never thought I’d do again.
Sure, I have grandchildren, but, due to the pandemic, I don’t see them much anymore. Even if I did, I doubt very seriously I’d be putting them to bed, brushing their teeth, and monitoring bath times. It’s my job to let them play in the mud, fill them up on sugar, and send them home, right? Darn right!
To be quite honest, I was incredibly nervous to take on the full-time gig of taking care of my stepson for an entire week but there was no way I’d say no. Besides, the task was offered to the “away” party and he refused. So, that left all the fun stuff up to me but there was just one problem. The kid hates me!
I’ve been in his life now for over two and a half years and I can honestly count on one hand the number of times he’s warmed up to me. I promise you; I’m not mean or unfair to the kid by any means, I’m just well versed in the stuff a six-year-old tries to get away with! He has an older stepbrother and three older stepsisters who paved the way for him years ago. It is impossible for him to get one over on me. Ever. Therefore…he’s not my biggest fan.
Reason two? His biological family believes I am the anti-Christ and tells him so every chance they get. I’ve never done anything wrong to him or them, but they seem to think that I am the reason their precious ex daughter in law is no longer in the picture. I get it, I truly do, but last I checked, that marriage was over and done with long before I stepped in. It’s simple math, really. Can be done with the most basic of calendars. Somehow, this logic just seems to slip everyone’s mind on that side of the family. Whatever helps them sleep at night, I guess. I sleep like a baby. An anti-Christ baby!
The only time we do seem to get along is when it comes to gaming. I introduced the little booger to classic videogames a couple of years ago and he’s been obsessed ever since. Now that I’m a classic arcade game collector, he is constantly inquiring about the things I played when I was his age and wants me to tell him stories of how games evolved into what they are now. Ironically, this was one of the major things that my biological son and I had in common while he was growing up as well. Maybe it’s just a boy thing.
Three days in, and what I expected to be several nights of Hell in a handbasket have been the most pleasant nights I’ve ever spent around this child! He’s courteous, helpful, eats his dinner without question, takes his bath, and goes to sleep right on time with no fuss whatsoever! I’m having a really hard time understanding this because it’s not even this easy when his own mother goes by the numbers. His own father? Forget it! That guy has to call us all the time during his weekends so my wife can sing the kid to sleep! Maybe it’s all an evil plot by the ex just to hear my wife’s lovely singing voice. I can imagine him tucked in the corner mumbling to himself like Gollum in Lord of the Rings. Ew…that’s taking it too far. Thinking about my wife’s ex-husband and his “precious”.
Anyway, I’ve been trying to wrap my head around this conundrum for three nights now. Is it because, in the past, I’ve always been the backup parent and, no matter what happens, my wife would always be there to play referee? Does he really love and respect me but feels bad for doing so because he doesn’t want to betray his biological father (The same biological father who forgets to pick him up at school on his visitation days because we’ve already discussed his inability to use a calendar)?
If I think about it deeply enough, I remember what it was like being a stepson. I actually had a few stepfathers growing up, but they were all a bunch of drunken idiots who abused my mother. They rarely even acknowledged my presence let alone tried to have a real relationship with me. I promised myself as a young boy that, if I were to ever be placed into the situation of stepfather, I’d do everything I could to make sure that kid knew I loved him or her. I’d like to think I’m sticking to my end of the bargain. I don’t think I’ve ever lied to myself up to this point and I refuse to start today!
Were you ever placed into the role of stepparent? If so, what was the relationship like between your stepson/stepdaughter? Were you or they cool enough to remove the “step” prefix? What is one thing you miss about raising your own children when they were younger? Did you read to them at bedtime or were you one of those parents who shut the door and reminded them that the almighty belt was right around the corner? I promise we won’t judge that last part but you and I both know that was a thing when we were growing up! If I shut my eyes and concentrate, I can still hear my father’s voice saying it.
Either way, here at Your Stories on Video, we want to know!