Growing up, I didn't really have a father in my life. I had a horrible step-father and my mom's divorce to him couldn't come fast enough. Later on in life, I met my biological father and that turned out to be a disappointment as well. As I look back and reflect on the two individuals who were suppose to be the daddies in my life, I can't help but think about the real men who have made such an emotional and supportive impact in my life. I like to call these men, my "real" dad's...let me tell you a little bit about them...
First and foremost, my uncle Bobo (Dan) has been the most supportive and influential father figure in my life from the day I was born. He has been there for not only my mom but for myself and brother as well. I can't think of a time in my life when I couldn't count on him. I have so many fond memories of growing up with him.
I use to spend a lot of time with my uncle growing up. Some of my favorite memories include:
- Mickey Mouse pancakes. I use to think these were SOOO cool!!
- His toy collection. This man had the biggest train set ever. He also collected some of the most unique toys I could think of. I remember him have these pinball machines, but they were little...they were so neat!
- Micheal Jackson. I use to watch the Michael Jackson videos at his house. My uncle Bobo probably is the reason I got hooked on him at such a young age.
- Trips. Bobo took me on my first trip ever to Disneyland. He also took me all around Oregon and took me on my first plane ride! And even though I cried and wanted to go back home to my mom, I look back and think of how cool it was that he wanted me to tag along!
- My dance/school performances. My uncle NEVER missed a single school performance. He was always there!
I also have my neighbor, Steve Glavan, to thank for being a father figure growing up. Steve was the father to my best friends, Chelan, Kari and Chris. They lived right next door. Steve provided so many funny moments in my life. I don't think that I ever went to their house to cry on Steve's shoulder per say, but I went over to get a smile. Steve has this sense of humor that is so clean but anyone would (and still could) laugh at. He made these AWESOME message machine recordings. I think about them all the time..."If you are at the ballet, press two two. If you are golfing, press four." They were seriously so funny. And he is still very witty!
I have never thanked Steve for being such a solid figure in my life and for opening his doors to me anytime I needed or wanted. His smiles and warm heart made the rough times easier. I couldn't have asked for a better neighbor growing up. I honestly believe that he was put in my life for a reason. Thinking back to those times, I now know why. Thank you Steve, for being such a great influence on my life. You not only provided me with a second family, but you supported me, you were there for me and you introduced me to a family of God and faith. I love you!
Chuck Redwing was also a father figure of mine. He was along the same lines of Steve but had a very nurturing manner to him. Chuck definitely gave me a shoulder to cry on, gave me that dad advice that I needed in my teenage years and provided me with many laughs and smiles. We use to have this tradition that went strong for five years (I believe) where we would go to the Monster Truck show. Oh my gosh, it was so fun! Seriously!
Chuck made me feel like I was a daughter. He made me feel like I belonged to his family. Him and his wife, Marlene, are my Godparents. I call them that all the time because that's exactly what they are. They were the second set of parents that I needed. Anytime that I had tears rolling down my face, they were right there, on the phone or at my home (mind you they lived a good 45 minutes away from me). Thank you Chuck, for the hugs, laughter, advice and kindness. I think about you all the time and wish I could see you more. You were a solid figure of love and kindness in my life and helped guide me through some hard times. You and Marlene are the biggest blessings in my life. Thank you...
Now, I have the most amazing stepfather! Ed has been such a supportive father figure. I seriously have needed someone like him in my life for as long as I can remember. I am horrible at telling him or showing him how thankful I am but I truly am. Everything a father should be, Ed is. And we even butt heads and make up like a father daughter should! LOL! Seriously though, he is great. For not ever having kids of his own, he picked up the pieces and learned super quick. Thank you so much Ed, for being the father that Brandon and I needed. We love you!
Thank you to all the dad's out there, the fill in's and biological. You all have made a big impact on the lives you are involved in. Remember that you are influencing the world in more ways than you know. We all appreciate your time and dedication to staying positive and loving in the lives of the children you are helping raise.