Two Dads Are Better than
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
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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