When Ellis became my Dad, I was in the second grade. Although he and my Mom dated for several years before they got married, I didn’t know the great person I was getting in my life, or how much our relationship would come to mean through the years. He is more than a stepfather to me and while this simple blog post can’t possibly express how much I love him and appreciate him, I hope it at least warms his heart on today, his 70th birthday!
Like most Fathers, Ellis was there for many firsts (either to experience it with me or to discipline me because of it): My first baseball game, my first trip to Disney World, to New York, to Washington DC and to countless other places, my first elementary & middle school recitals, the first time I wanted to run away from home because I thought my Mom was being unfair, my first date, my first breakup, my first heartbreak, my first prom, my first job, the first time I skipped school, the first time I got detention, the first time I got drunk, when I got my first car and my first car accident, when I graduated high school, the first time I stepped on my college campus, walking me down the aisle when I got married, the first time I gave birth, (along with the second, third and fourth time) and he was there for me first, when my Mom passed away.
It was at that moment, that I thought our relationship would turn south. I figured my Mom was gone, so his obligation to me was gone. I think we both questioned our future that year; it was a hard year. But I still needed a Dad and he still needed a Daughter….so with no words of regret spoken, we carried on like usual. That was 11 years ago, and we haven’t missed a beat since. And now, like he was there for me, he’s the beloved “Papa” of firsts for all my children; his grandchildren.
There are three things that Ellis loves: taking pictures, listening to music and sipping on a good drink. Every event in my life, my husband’s life, and my children’s life is documented by pictures or video. He has captured every moment! Every moment! And unlike most grandparents his age, Ellis’s playlist is well over 20K songs and with a good drink in his hand, he will try to play Every. Single. One. Of. Them!
A typical get together with us is, he and my husband laughing uncontrollably for hours on end about something (which I’m sure is highly inappropriate), him dancing with the boys as they try to teach him the latest dance moves, him watching Taylor every time she shouts “Papa look” and she shouts it A LOT, him laughing and playing fetch with our dog Shado, and me sitting back cracking jokes asking what ugly women he’s currently dating! (Trust me, they are all ugly in comparison to my Mom!) But we laugh and party, and drink and sing, and laugh some more and in those moments, life is good!
And every year on my Mom’s birthday and the day of her death, if we aren’t together, we’ll call just to touch base. Just to quietly remember who brought us together and how special she was to both of us. At any given moment, of any hour on any day, Ellis is there. My husband calls on him for everything, I call on him for everything and my children look up to him for everything. Nothing feels complete if he’s not there, no trip is taken if he can’t make it, no decision is made if we haven’t discussed it with him first, and no life changing moment is celebrated unless he knows about it.
When we moved to Texas, he moved to Texas. When we moved back home to Missouri, he without any hesitation moved back to Missouri; and now that we’re back in Texas, he’s preparing to come back to Texas! Home is when we are all together. My stepdad is a great man and thirty years ago, I couldn’t have possibly known how he would change my life for the better. Since day one, he has treated me with unconditional love, care, kindness and has truly embraced me as his own.
Whatever I need, whenever I need it, he will make it happen. He will watch the kids if my husband and I need a getaway with no problem (except in making sure that Taylor’s hair is combed in a way that he doesn’t have to touch it!)! If something is broken, he either knows how to fix it or will spend hours on YouTube trying to figure it out. And, if I want something, he will do whatever it takes to get it for me. Once time he came to visit me in Texas and I was missing some of St. Louis’ famous shrimp fired rice, Red Hot Riplet chips and Vess soda. He came with not only a box of 50 chips and two cases of soda, but he froze the rice! I mean he had concocted it in such a way that ten hours later when he arrived, it was perfect!! So even with my most bizarre requests, he’ll figure out a way to get it done!
There haven’t been many times in my life when I have told Ellis, thank you. Like a full sincere thank-you-for-everything kind of thank you!! In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever said it. Like most people, we live each day routinely and take it for granted, assuming that the person we love will always be there. But after losing my Mom, I know that’s not the case because when she died, I was left with many regrets of things I should have said.
I won’t make that mistake with Ellis. So Ellis, as you read this (along with my other 1300 followers!) I want you to know that I am so lucky and grateful to have you in my life. You have guided and shaped me into the woman I am today. My husband is proud to be your son and my children are thankful that you are their Papa. (Especially Taylor because she’s been drawing birthday cards all weekend!)
Not just today, because it’s your birthday, but for every day you’ve been there and will be there, for everything you’ve done for me and my family, for being the very special man you are, I want you to know that it means the world to me have you as my Dad! I am so glad God put you in my life! I love you with all my heart!! Have a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!
Exodus 20:12 (NIV) Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.