I...had 2 dads.
Not in the modern way. No disrespect. I'm just saying that's not the family I had. I had my dad, who was my dad and my step-dad.
Most of the close friends I have in my life I've almost always had. There may be some "holes" in time, but we've always kept a connection.
Even to these friends, it's confusing. Confusing because growing up, I would NEVER have referred to my step dad as my "dad". He and I didn't get along swimmingly. I resented him and hated the way he treated me and my brothers. It was not a close father/daughter relationship.
By stating the following, I am in no way disrespecting my dad - because I loved him dearly.
My dad was an alcoholic. Not only was he an alcoholic, he was a nasty drunk. My step brother & sister never saw this part of him. They lived in another house. They got the good dad who loved and doted on them, on the weekends. They got the nice guy. Yes, fine he was actually THEIR father, but I lived in his home. We were often treated badly and had to figure our own ways around it.
The days always started out nicely. On weekday mornings, I'd come down to the kitchen for my breakfast. He'd have already put my English muffin into the toaster for me. I'd eat my breakfast as he read the paper and we'd chat about the day before,or what the day lay ahead for us. Morning was always nice. I think it was because of the mornings that I was able to form a bond with my step dad, my dad, later in life.
After school, I'd come home and do my chores, my homework and take care of my brothers. Sometimes I'd start dinner. It was this time of the day that everything changed. The scary time. The time that our step dad would come home - drunk and angry. We were always in trouble for something, or nothing. Eventually, I knew enough to just be gone at that time of day. I'd conveniently be at a friend's house or whatever. My little brother would hide in his room. It didn't really matter where we were, as long as we were out of the way. I'd come home when he was passed out asleep. It's what worked for me.
This is the dad that my friends remember. The mean, nasty, drunk son of a bitch that used to physically and verbally abuse us. They don't know the dad that I came to be close to. The dad that looked after me and my son while I was going through a miserable divorce. The dad that took care of me when I was a single mom and the dad that I took care of during his sickness.
You see, my dad did recover. The last 10 years of his life, he was a recovering alcoholic. He didn't go to AA, it wasn't his thing. He got sick. I know it's may be in poor taste to be thankful for a life threatening illness, but if he didn't get sick, he'd have drank until the day he died. It was the diabetes that made him quit drinking. The diabetes made him so sick he couldn't drink and when he didn't drink, I had back the dad that I had on weekday mornings that made my English muffin for me and sat to talk with me while reading his paper before the day began. This is the dad I longed for. Especially after my own dad died 9 years earlier.
It was his sickness that gave him sobriety. It was his sobriety that formed the father / daughter relationship that I had with him. The grandfather / grandson bond that he formed with my son and the father in law / son in law bond he formed with my husband and even with my ex-husband to some degree.
So yes, I had two dads whom I loved, that loved me.
I miss them both, my dad and my dad.