Thursday, December 20, 2018

An Ideal Step-Father

I’d like to honor my husband, Paul, who became step-father to my daughters when they were 8 and 11. He had custody of his own children, too, who were then 6 and 10. The kids are grown up now with nine (going on ten) kids of their own.

As a step-father Paul was as fair with my kids as his own, and still is. He loved and treated them all the same. He was a great example to them of how a husband should treat his wife. Our daughters have chosen men who cherish them and our son shows great respect and care for his wife.

I'd like to focus on four personality traits that Paul exhibited to the max:
he was patient, attentive, understanding and loving.

He had the kind of patience that one cannot develop consciously. He just had it, though it did come with a reflexive sigh that signaled there was an effort to the patience. That makes me laugh to remember it now. Nevertheless, in critical situations he drove a step-daughter ten hours round trip to a renown clinic, has sat in a waiting room alone all day and was on-call ten days straight in a strange city having nothing to do to kill time. I still see his patience now when dealing with our kids’ misfortunes and their repeated budgetary problems. I thank God for Paul’s patience.

Attentive? Yes! As a husband he was and is the most attentive spouse out there, but he displayed this quality as a step-father, too. He picked up on each kid's less obvious emotions, the subtle ones and the ones they tried to hide. He paid attention and then he did something about it, giving advice, support, money, time, whatever was needed. I thank God for Paul’s attentiveness.

That brings me to his trait of understanding. That same sixth sense he had for detecting our children’s feelings included his knack for being understanding. I guess it goes hand in hand with compassion and empathy, two other qualities he has that I love about him. I thank God for Paul’s understanding nature.

It’s not hard to puzzle out that I would end with love. Paul was and is patient, attentive, understanding and loving. How does a step-father show love? Paul was always uncomplaining, caring, and sympathetic with the kids. He was enduring, conscientious, kind, and accepting. He was generous. As we raised these fine people I never heard him yell at them, belittle them, or criticize them negatively. He was and is loving and he shows that love. Thank you, God, for this wonderful man who has been the ideal step-father.

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