An unoriginal original story by Sydney L. Parker
My dad is an amazing man. And yet, he didn't have to be my dad. He chose to be, although he had three children that were biologically his.
My birth father, Patrick, was a horrendous man. He had a sweet and charming side but he suffered from addiction and from mental disorders that he would not seek help for. He was a father to three boys. One girl. That girl is me.
My mother had gotten married very young in a society where being a Catholic meant getting married around 19-20 and having as many babies as you possibly can. That worked well and dandy for many people. It did not work for Monica and Dan. They married when he was 30 and she was 20, a reasonable age difference for the time period. And not once did they find their marriage to be anything other than convenient.
Their first born was a very headstrong, compassionate son. A wonderful man they named Joseph Daniel, or as we know him, J.D.. Later, an unplanned pregnancy that later ended up being unplanned twins left both Monica and Dan too stunned to even function for a couple of days. Three under three.
Dan was a police officer in Creve Coeur, Missouri. He was excellent at his job, had been doing so since his early twenties. A wonderful cop, a wonderful man. Trying his best to make the world a better place. But three under three at home and his wife being a stay at home mom made life a lot more complicated.
Somehow they managed, despite their marriage struggling with the times. They found themselves unhappy living together. They could not stand the lifestyle in which the other one lived. One was very neat, very clean. On top of everything that went on in the house. The other was very messy and never home. Eventually, when J.D., Lindsay, and Kasey were a little older, Dan and Monica found that to be the right time to alleviate the tensions in the household and get a divorce.
Now, divorce can and is very messy. It is something that no one hopes for, no one wants to be a part of. It's financially devastating and is already so difficult on the families involved. This divorce was easy as both participants really did care about each other, just did not want to be married. Dan and Monica are still friends to this very day despite having gotten divorced twenty-one years ago now.
Both dated after their divorce, it's only natural for that to happen. Dan dated Stephanie. Monica dated Patrick. Stephanie didn't work out, and in a weird sorta way, neither did Patrick. Well, not after a restraining order was issued.
It didn't take long for Monica to find out how abusive and mentally ill Patrick was. But by the time she had found the courage to leave, she found out she was pregnant. A thirty-eight-year-old mother with a fifteen-year-old and two twelve-year-olds at home was pregnant.
Monica deserves so much recognition on her own. Although there were two men who were technically my dad, she was a single mom. Patrick was not allowed to be a part of my life. Dan wasn't actually my dad. My mom let Dan have it easy, being able to be the fun dad who didn't discipline or have to actually raise me. He could be there for all the big moments, the graduations, the achievements. He could be there to help me learn how to ride a bike, play board games, and watch animal documentary videos. But he did not have to be the bad guy ever.
My mom was technically my mom and my dad as she is the person financially responsible for me. She is the one who has raised me, lifted me up, and allowed me to be the person I am today. All because she played both parts. Any single parent will tell you, they play both mom and dad. It's not easy.
But Dan, as this is about dads, found out my mother was pregnant after their divorce. It had been pretty recent afterwards, it's not like my mom had spent years dating and getting married to Patrick. It was an accidental pregnancy with a man she really loved but had no intentions of marrying as she found out about his illnesses and temper. He could have turned his back on her. He could have condemned her. He could have hugged his son and two daughters a little closer to himself and told them I was an abomination.
Instead he saw a little girl who would have no dad. He valued my relationship to my siblings, thinking it would be best for all four to have the same parents as well.
So, he stepped up.
He's been there for everything from my kindergarten graduation, fifth grade spelling bee, almost all my color guard competitions, my plays, and high school graduation. He rescues me when my car is in a ditch, jumps my friends' cars, lets me call at any time of the day, and gives me self-defense advice. He teaches me how to be deadly but elegant if I was ever to be in a situation that I feared for my life.
Dan will even comfort me when I wonder how life would have been with Patrick. Patrick died in 2020 due to his drinking problem and I never really got to meet my birth dad as a coherent adult who wanted to confront him for never seeking help for his problems. I am left with many questions that will never truly be answered and a lot of regret about him. Dan is there to pick up the pieces without judgement and only does everything he possibly can to help me and the rest of my siblings all the same.
We are equal in his eyes, even though I am technically not his actual daughter.
This is a man who had no obligation and all the pieces to villainize my mother. Instead, he welcomed us both into his life to stay forever with open arms.
He will always mean the world to me. He will always be one of my favorite superheroes, next to Super Mom, who had to play both parts.
Thank you for reading.