Two Dads Are Better than One
I’ve always envied people with only two parents. They never have to feel sorry for their real father because he is lonely, and they never have to feel they should care more about their stepfather because he is the one who has provided them with the necessities most of their lives. Since I have two fathers, I have known these feelings. I know what it’s like trying to decide which father I should care about more so that I could tell my friends the next time they asked. It really should be a clear-cut decision. My two fathers are so different in everything that I should be able to look at these differences and decide.
A major difference between the two is how responsible they are. My stepfather has always had a steady job. He enjoys going to work each day and knowing that at the end of the week he’ll get a paycheck. With this paycheck he pays bills, buys groceries, and makes sure we all have clothes to wear. On the other hand, my father doesn’t particularly care for steady jobs. He is a singer and has worked three or four nights a week in nightclubs most of his life. With his money, he buys things like new guitars and amplifiers. His idea of providing for us, as Mom tells me, is to send ten dollars a month, which is to be divided three ways. He only does this, however, when he’s out of state.
Discipline is another major difference between my two fathers. My stepfather, who can be very strict at times, believes that children should obey their parents, do what they are told when they are told to do it, and respect their elders. My father, who was never disciplined himself, has quite different views. He has always encouraged my brothers and me to rebel against rules, to ask why we had to do certain things, and to resent being made to do things we thought were stupid. (Going to bed at ten was stupid.) My mother always told us that our father only did this to cause trouble, but I’m not so sure about that. Maybe he did, but then again maybe he thought going to bet at ten was stupid, too!
Education is another big issue my stepfather is concerned about. He believes, like many people, that to be able to succeed in life, one has to have a good education. He always told us that he didn’t want us to turn out like he did, a truck driver who had to be away from his family for weeks at a time. He used to punish me and my brothers for making C’s on our report cards. His theory is that a C is average, and his kids are not average. I wouldn’t place any money on that. My father believes that an education is good to have, but one doesn’t have to have it to survive. He always says, “Look at me; I made it.” I don’t think, however, that I would call sleeping in the back of a station wagon “making it.”
So here I have it. All their differences down on paper, and I can look at them objectively and decide which father to love more, but it isn’t that easy. I love my father because he is just that, my natural father. I respect him; I am obligated to him, and I want to make him proud of me. Then there is my stepfather, whom I respect very much; whom I feel obligated to; whom I want to make proud of me; and, most important of all, whom I have grown to love as much as any child could possibly love a parent. I guess I’ll never really know which father I love more. I don’t see why I should have to love either more. I think I’ll just love both of them in almost equal amounts.
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