Just Ed, because I have always called you Ed, not Dad or anything else that could be mistaken for the title of the man who died when I was so young yet earned the respected title simply by his biological standing. Ed, now that I am a step mom to two teens, I get what a huge challenge you took on when you married my Mum with the three of us, 13, 11(me!) and 8 coming along as a package deal. I get it. You took on a whole ready made team and probably felt as much of an outsider as I do now with my step kids when they share memories I wasn’t there for and miss a mother who I can never replace. It’s not always about being an outsider – I’m developing my own memories with my new insta-family and many of my fun childhood memories include you – but there are times when I’m the fourth wheel as you were our fifth.
Thank you for loving my mother enough to put up with three kids who were at times ungrateful, unaware and unruly. I get it know that a step parent doesn’t have the biological imperative to love and protect, so the fact you chose to love and protect us is even more significant. I’m struggling with even liking one of my step kids, much less loving him or protecting him. The other, I like and may one day love, but it’ll never be the deep pull of maternal love.
Ed, thanks for being my Dad, even though you never had that title. You had that role and you did the best you could with it, against all odds. And I did, and still do, feel loved and protected by you.