When my daughter hit elementary school, there became so much talk of her “real” dad all of a sudden. Everyone wants everything to fit so nicely into a perfect box with a neat and tidy bow tied on top. That’s not real life. The household makeup of one mom and one dad that got married first and stayed together forever is not the norm. I had my daughter with someone I really shouldn’t have and then got stuck raising her all by myself with no help or real presence from him for over three years. It was then that I met my current partner in this life, her REAL dad.
When we met my current love, she started calling him “Daddy Deret” (she couldn’t say the “k” sound yet) all by herself with no prompting from us. They were inseparable. She was by his side (or on his shoulders) constantly. It brought so much joy to this mama’s heart to see the daddy-daughter relationship she deserves and I was worried she’d never have. She didn’t even start seeing her biological father until after we took him to court and she was about five. By then, she was really confused as to how he was “one of” her dads and even that she looked more like Daddy Derek than the biological one.
I just told her that God must have known Daddy Derek was going to be one of her dads one day, even if we didn’t know. I also told her Daddy Justin was there to help make her, but she (thankfully!) didn’t understand any of that yet. But, when she was in school, she would talk about both her dads. At first, kids would ask if her dads were gay, but she’d tell them she had one mom and two dads – and one dad didn’t live with us. So then the question became, “But, who’s your real dad.” To that, she didn’t know how to respond. She came home asking a million more questions.
I told her they both were her real dads. When kids pressed the issue with her, she came home and pressed the issue with me. She still didn’t understand how babies came into this world, so it made it that much more difficult. I had to tell her that I had two very real moms in my own life that helped raised me – Pumpkin whose belly I came out of and Grammie Sue that married Grandpa later on. They both are my moms, and I love them both very much. I explained that not all families are just one mom and one dad, and sometimes you just get lucky enough to have extra parents to love on you.
The “real” dad thing really bothered me, though. I know kids often think of the biological father as the “real” one, but the father that steps in and does the ACTUAL raising of a child is the REAL father in my book. My other half spent more time with her in one month than the other did in over three years combined. Daddy Derek as the one taking care of her when she was sick, reading to her, brushing her hair, playing with her, watching Frozen a million times over and dealing with Let it Go for months on end, etc. He’s the one that she turns to for advice even to this day as a now-teenager. He’s the one that still makes sure she has everything she needs when she’s not feeling well. He’s the real one.
Now that she’s a teenager, she thinks she knows so much more than we do now, and there are more frequent moments of disrespect we have to check her for. But, I still can see how much she loves DD and how she prefers to tell him everything about her days over telling me. He’s the best thing that could have ever happened to her – to us. We’re so fortunate to have a real man and a real father protecting us, loving us, and making us better every day. I don’t even want to think of where we’d be without him. He’s our world and the best real thing EVER.