Thirty-seven years ago go I became a “Step-Father”. The word “step” anything carries baggage—thank you Disney and Cinderella. I personally find the added descriptor confusing at best. There are wonderful stories of “step” relationships that flourish and inspire. There are others that best be left to rot in their failures of trust, respect, or decency. Stephanie, MK’s oldest bio daughter is now 48. Since nearly the beginning of our moving under one roof in,1984 she and I have built our own version of father/ daughter. I respect her beyond measure as a daughter, educator, sister, mother, wife and all around fun and amazing human being.
Nearly two years ago on Thanksgiving Day, we got a phone call from her to tell us she was expecting a baby in May. You could have knocked me over with a pea-shooter. I thought that ship had sailed. Sure enough— Sofia was born in 2019 to two middle aged parents. Then came 2020. My contact was limited to FaceTime on Sundays, singing “Itty Bitty Spider” to a screen, and finally one trip to California last May. Pre Covid, Stephanie had made it her ritual to come every October for a Bronco game, and minus last year, she maintains a perfect record.
This year she brought “The Bonus Round”—a little girl named Sophia. She walked right in our house, and found Sam my stuffed animal ground hog. Then she asked if he could spend the week with her, and began setting up “their sleeping quarters” in the basement. A sidebar is that Sofia named me Park— I guess Papa Mark was too long—so Park it is. I actually love it.
The next day she said very clearly to to me “I guess Sam can’t go with me back to California”. I would have been willing to part with him had I not known that she has maybe 50 different “stuffed friends” in Ranchos Palos Verdes. It took her no time at all to figure out the lay of the land here.
They left this afternoon and my house is too quiet again. Hanging out with a two year old was great for my post Covid recovery. We might share minuscule DNA but our hearts are connected at the core.
Onward and Upward, Mark