A few weeks ago, Greg and I headed out to Logan Lake to visit my Stepdad, Mike, and his family.
Mike and my mom were together for 17 years before she died and he helped Mama raise me through my most formative and rebellious years. He was the best Step Parent anyone could have asked for. During the years when my mom and my dad weren’t really on speaking terms, I was truly blessed to have such a good man to be my father figure and to teach me life’s lessons, such as how to fish and how to drive and how to direct boys to tap on the correct window when coming to get me and my friends on nights we wanted to sneak out to go to a party (“Uh, wrong window boys. You might want to try the other side of the house next time.” Good job, Jaron and Mark).
He was the peace keeper when my crazy teenage hormones and mom’s temper met head to head and he taught me that it was definitely not okay to speak to my mother or any adult as though they were one of my school buddies or a piece of trash under my shoe. Mom and Mike first started dating when I was seven or eight and I still remember the day it donned on me that he was a permanent fixture in our house – incidentally, it was also the day he first decided to discipline me. I was 11 years old and I was beaking off to my mom in the living room when she told me that she’d had enough and told me to go to my room. Let’s just say I was a tad feisty at that age and, rather than listen to her and head to my room, I insisted on utilizing some of my newfound vocabulary skills (picked up on the school playground) and I politely told her that she could go and make love to herself. In a split second, my feet were dangling off the ground and I was grasping at Mike’s solid arm as he held me inches above the ground and calmly said, “Don’t ever talk to your mother like that again.” Uh, okay. Check. Got it. Damn, he’s really here for good. This memory always makes me smile because it was the first time in the many years since my parents had split up that I felt as though I once again had two parents and, even though I could no longer get away with walking all over my mom, it felt really good to know that she had found someone who was in it for the long haul.
After that incident, life settled into a nice, normal routine with lots of love, laughter, tears, discipline, adventures in the great outdoors and a feeling that I’d finally regained the family that I’d lost when my parents divorced and my dad took my brothers away to live with him. I believe Mike and I continuously learned from each other through the ensuing years – he learned how to deal with the ins and outs of raising a crazy, irrational and rebellious teenage daughter and I learned how to fish, camp, ride a quad, drive a truck, treat adults with respect and look up to another adult besides my mom. All in all, I think I got the better deal!
A few years after Mama died, Mike found another fantastic lady named Deb who, strangely enough, had an eight year old daughter! Nowadays, he finds himself going through the whole process again, being a Stepdad to Ali and struggling though the trials and tribulations of her teenage years. It always amazes me how life comes full circle. Deb and Ali are a very welcome addition to our family and I am tickled that Mike has found such good peeps to add to the mix. When we went to visit, I decided to take some shots of Mike and the family because they didn’t have any photos on their walls of all of them together. I hope they like them so much that they blow them up HUGE and hang them all over the place.
Here are my favorites from the shoot.
Maybe they’ll hang a couple in the cabin that they just finished building at the back of their property. It’s a nice little guest house or a “get away from everyone else” place to hide out.
Thanks for being such an amazing dad to me, Mike. I’m one lucky lady.
You can see all of the pics here.