I was lucky to have two fathers: My “real” dad and my stepfather. When I think of Father’s Day, I have several examples of a “father.”
My Dad was a complicated individual. Even though I lived with my dad for 8 years, I did not really know him. Sometimes, the memories are great. Often, the memories are nonexistent or bad because I was scared of him. Perhaps that was normal because he was the disciplinarian.
When my parents were divorced and Dad moved to Boise, several weekends a year and during the summers, Dad and I were forced to have a relationship. There were some rough patches in those early days, but I found out that I loved my Dad.
Even now, when I make scrambled eggs, watching cartoons, BBQ’ing, etc, I think of my Dad. He became like a great wonderful older brother to me.
My step father was my “real” father. When my mom married my step father, I was 8 years old. The comparing of fathering styles was evident. My dad used a belt to enforce his rules. My stepfather, on the other hand, was so calming and reasoned when he had cause to discipline me.
A belt was a harsh punishment, but it made me resentful. For my stepfather, all he had to say, “You let me down, and I am disappointed.” His words were more punishing than my dad’s belt.
However, I realized later that my mother married two wonderful men who were similar in many ways. They were very intelligent and incredibly smart, irreverent, quick witted, successful, devoted to their families, selfless, compassionate, etc.
Though different in many ways, I realized now that they were more similar than I ever knew. Mom had great tastes in husbands!
When my second massive stroke happened January 13, 2012, my dad had been dead for 18 years. However, when the hospital staff was rushing me to have another MRI, I distinctly heard my dad saying, “Mark Patrick, you will be fine. I love you. You will be fine.” Though confused and scared, my dad was with me.
After that stroke, my parents arrived from Twin Falls. Mom and Karl, held me tight and said, “You will be fine. We love you.” They passed away 10 months after my strokes.
Often I tell people, I had three great parents. My three parents helped me during what was the worst day of my life. I am grateful for them.