Father's Day is quickly approaching, and people everywhere are taking the time to thank dads for all they do.
The holiday has evolved since its establishment in 1910, and our definition of what it means to be a "dad" is much more inclusive now.
We're no longer limited to bloodlines or gender roles, and instead, we are able to recognize all those who fulfill the "father figure" role in our lives.
Father's Day can acknowledge the single mother who acts as both mom and dad. It can honor the divorced dad who still fights to take part in his kids' lives.
But, most importantly, Father's Day can highlight the vastly underrated stepdad, who acts out of love and without obligation, usually receiving very little appreciation in return.
Jay Pritchett, one of my favorite TV stepdads, famously said, "90 percent of being a dad is just showing up."
A lucky few children are born to a pair of perfect parents who always show up.
For others, they only know what it actually means to have fathers when stepdads come into the picture.
So, to all the men who have stepped in and up, thank you.
You're single-handedly responsible for reducing the percentage of the population with daddy issues.
For that and so much more, you deserve recognition.
Here are just a few of the many reasons stepdads are awesome:
1. He treats you as your own.
He doesn't need to qualify your relationship with the "step" preface.
You're introduced to everyone as his son or daughter, and he's always bursting with pride.
2. He doesn't rush the relationship.
Unlike your birth dad (whom you're genetically programmed to love), a stepdad has to earn your respect and struggle for years before you realize how much he means to you. No worries, though.
He has plenty of time, and he's willing to wait it out.
3. He put up with your nonsense.
He'll let you to flip out, tell him he doesn't deserve your mother, say he's not your real dad, and he'll still be there in the morning. Because, even though you're a crazy kid, you're his crazy kid.
4. He keeps it real.
Your mother will always see you as her perfect little angel. Your stepdad can actually offer you practical advice about life, and he can listen to you share your less-flattering moments without shame or judgment.
5. He provides for your mother.
Speaking of your mother, she works hard. She deserves to be taken care of, and your stepdad is more than happy to step up. For that, you should be grateful.
When you can't be there for your mother, it's a huge relief to know she's not alone.
6. He knows when to step back.
Your stepdad knows, sometimes, you just want to hang out with your mom.
He can step back without feeling hurt because he understands how strong your bond is, and he isn't trying to challenge or surpass it in any way.
7. He always picks up your phone call.
Maybe it's out of obligation or a never-ending desire to have you like him, but he tried really hard to be there for you.
He is incredibly reliable when you need someone to come to your rescue or to simply pick up your phone call.
8. He just wants to be part of your life.
A lot of the time, a stepdad misses out on your cutest years and general upbringing.
That means he's even more determined to be a part of your life and not miss out on anything else.
I hope all the stepdads out there get the credit they deserve this weekend. Keep up the good work!