I was really lucky to have my stepdad.
I know how lucky I was to have him for a dad. For a long time, my mom was kind of broken. I don’t mean that like it was her fault, it was the way I saw it. She had gone through a lot after my bio-dad cheated on her with eventual stepmoms #1 and #2. These step-parents were not great. They were the kind you read about in newspapers or see on sensational daytime TV talk shows. Too much drama. So after Mom gave her first marriage a second chance, but was again betrayed, she became laser-focused on surviving and providing for her kids. Love and self-care took a back seat indefinitely. Mom lived and breathed for us, and it was honestly stifling. Appreciated, but stifling.
So when I was 15 or 16 and at my peak angst, peak shitty teen boyfriend, peak teenage rage, I was really skeptical about this new guy in my mom’s life. She had not dated anyone else, and she wasn’t looking to. But then her friend Maria introduced her to this guy, and they clicked. I saw mom laughing and smiling for the first time in years.
They eloped and were together for 20+ years until last month, when Carlos, who became my best dad, died of cancer.
And, just like that he was gone. Last October, Mom retired, took a trip to visit her cousin and then my brother, and that’s when he got his diagnosis. They moved to their dream condo, he began treatment, the pandemic started, we visited in August, and now… gone. Even though we knew it was coming, I am still in shock that I won’t see his warm smile again or hear him tell me to ‘keep on truckin’ as he always reminded me.
So this to Carlos, who was kind and thoughtful to a point. You were a beacon after my rough childhood. You were so patient with jerky, skeptical, distrustful teenage me. You made my mom smile again, and helped us see the sunshine after some very stormy times.
Rest In Peace, Carlos.
Thank you for everything.