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Article published June 15, 2013
Honor stepdads, too
James H. Matson Butler
This Father’s day, I would like to pay tribute to Americas unsung heroes, the stepfather. As a stepfather myself, I know the joy of raising stepchildren. I raised my two stepchildren since the birth of the boy, and my girl was only three. I raised them as though they were my own. I was there for birthdays, Christmases and Fourths of July. I did my best to make sure they got whatever they wanted for all occasions. Gifts aren’t the substance of relationships, though. I always wanted to keep them stimulated and interested in things. Every farm show, every fair, every parade, I wanted them to be a part of it. I can still see my 6-year-old girl, in my mind’s eye, doing the chicken dance at the Skate Castle roller rink. She was so dear to me, and I was so proud. The boy was fearless, refusing to take my hand for any help. I felt so lucky to have them in my life. As they got older, we took them to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, Sea World and Six Flags. We went to the zoo several times. I found great joy in seeing them happy. I can’t speak for all stepfathers, because not all of them appreciate the children that come with new relationships. A stepfather’s love isn’t expected or demanded. Stepfathers who do accept children as their own do it freely. This is love that can be compared to the love of an adoptive parent. If you were lucky enough to have been brought up by a loving, supportive stepfather, you should give him a call this Father’s Day, and let him know you appreciate all he did for you. To my own stepchildren who are grown and who I rarely see, I love you both and miss you all the time, Dad.