I have always said I had a "father" and a "dad" - they however, were not the same person. My father was the one who I was biologically related to. My dad, was the man my mother married when I was 13.
To say I gave my dad a hard time when he entered the picture is a HUGE understatement. Keep in mind, that my father was not a kind person and there were lots of issues, so a part of me was actually happy when my parents divorced. There was a peace and calmness that we hadn't had a lot of before.
When my mother started seeing Tony and they were getting serious, I remember thinking "What is wrong with her??" I remember telling one of my friends "We finally got one man out of the house and now she is thinking about bringing another one back in?" I guess I felt all men would be like my father. I even went so far as to write an "I hate you" letter to my dad.
We can joke about that note now, but at the time I was terrified to have a man moving back into our house. I did my best to fight his authority, and I'm sure there were many times I made him want to pull his hair out, but in time I came to realize that he actually cared about us kids.
Fast forward a few years and I was dating a boy who was not a good choice. When I tried to break up with him, he took me out behind the school and beat on me, and then broke the antenna and side mirrors off my car.
Dad called this boy and this boy actually said "What do you care? It's not like she is your real daughter anyway?" To this day, I don't know that I've ever actually seen my dad as mad as he was at that moment. He even went so far as to push this kid up against a wall the next time he saw him to let him know that his daughter would not be treated like that.
While I was mortified to know this was happening - in front of tons of people - it felt good to know he was sticking up for me.
He later gave me away when I got married, and cried (and talked baby talk) when he visited my daughters, his granddaughters, in the NICU. He is an inspiration and a mentor into how to walk the walk.
Happy birthday dad. Thanks for putting up with me, always being there for me, and most importantly, thanks for being my dad.
I love you.