My step-dad and I are two completely different creatures. I don’t know why that is, exactly, but it’s never been a secret that our perspectives couldn’t be more different. He’s quiet. I’m… not. He’s a picker (as in, will pick on you to be funny, not his nose). I’m… not. He’s conservative. I’m…. not.
I thought for a long time that he didn’t love me. That’s not a bad thing on him; it’s more a comment on my kiddie understanding of what love entailed. See, he’s not one to profess his love aloud. I’ve seen him sign cards to my mom with love, but I didn’t hear it from him growing up. I thought not hearing the words “I love you” meant he didn’t love me.
As it happens, I was wrong. He’s been my step-dad since I was a toddler, 15 months old. He married a lady with a baby and raised me like I was his own. That’s what love does.
He made sure we had a safe place to live, food to eat, and when he was laid off from his job and my mom found work, he stayed home with me. He overcame his nausea to change diapers and sat for hours reading me stories. That’s what love does.
I can remember that after my bath, I would scramble into my nightgown and run into my parents’ room, so that he could spend the next 10 minutes carefully blowdrying my hair that reached down past my waist. That’s what love does.
He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers – Malachi 4:6
When I got married, he agreed to drive us to the hotel in his 1951 Plymouth Cranbrook, a beauty of chrome and seafoam green. I got in the car, fluffy white dress rising around me. and for the first time that day, I think, I cried, not because the wedding was over, but because he had a song, playing on a loop. Not exactly a father-daughter song, but the sentiment, that I was a special gift to him, showed he loved me. That’s what love does.
Love is done. It is performed in multiple ways over the course of a lifetime. True love compels us to act our love. My step-dad loves me, and it shows in what he’s done. I love him, too.
*James Taylor on April 22… Think about it, Dad 😉
How do you show love to your children? How do you DO Love?