Friday, June 18, 2010

Father's Week Day Five: The Stepfather
4:05 PM

Father's Week Day Five: The Stepfather

Ahhhhhh the infamous stepfather. Is there any job less desirable?? And it seems the older you get, the stronger the need, and the higher the qualifications needed to be one. It's not easy to take on the responsibility of raising another man's kids, whether that man is in the picture or not. So today, we champion those of you that have stepped to the plate. Again, no need to intro this one...just do me a favor & visit her blog @ Thank Me Later...(sorry)

When I met George I was five years old. That was old enough to clearly remember WHO my father was and know that this was someone new. He said we could call him "uncle" George and that he was just a friend of our mother's but we knew... We knew.

Fast forward to 1990 and he was now our stepdad. We were now 12 going on 13, and George had been to every school play (he was my "voice coach" when I had to learn "Oklahoma" and "surry with a fringe on top" for our school play Oklahoma), recital, service, everything. He'd taken us to museums, art galleries, plays, fencing, taught us chess, bought our first tape recorder to make our own stories, our first turn table and record. Everything we did he was there. George was still an anomily to us though, full of stories, laughter, discipline. By this time we had come to call George "Phoffer" - Phoffer is a mixture between Father and "hasenpheffer" some make believe food on a bugs bunny cartoon that George, Rashaan, and myself loved. We loved the way George would yell "hasenpheffer!!" We had warmed up to him... My brother more than me.. I was still holding out for my biological. But our biological father was moving more and more out of the picture.

I can only speak for myself when I say I was glad that George was there but I wanted MY dad. If you've heard of the Terrible 2's they are nothing in comparison to the terrible teens. Every moment I got and everytime George tried to set boundaries I was quick to throw up "you're not my father". He never spoke ill of my dad in retaliation but I KNEW it hurt him to hear that. Here is the man that's taking care of me when my father wouldn't. When I wanted a rabbit, he got it, when some dumb boy said I wasn't pretty because I had braces, he would say "awww babe you AND that 8head of yours is beautiful" (inside joke) when I took up studying the upright (bass) he introduced me to a new level of jazz & classical music and stories within the music, when I tried out for performing arts he listened to my fears and hopes and encouraged me every step of the way, when I played at carnigie hall he yelled that's MY daughter, the first time I was published he said, that's MY blood, that's mines! And yet I said I wasn't. When Duffy (biological) would make appearances, George never made it a peeing contest; he would graciously step aside and let Duffy "play" daddy while HE was father. Protector, provider, encourager. He even went so far as to cover up my biological fathers faults so that we would continue to honor him.

Not only was George my father. George was a MAN. When I grew up realized the definition of a man was someone who didn't need to tear down or throw dirt on someone else for his own validation. I'm lucky I got to tell George who he was to me and how he affected me and how sorry I was for my teen years. Even when I apologized he told me it had long since been forgotten that he understood and it never changed his love towards me. I'm glad that he was my father, my dad, my phoffer.

George passed away in March. This fathers day is particularly tough. But I can honestly say I had an amazing father figure in him and I am truly glad to have called him Dad.