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Articles & Interviews
Happy Fathers' Day to the Man in the Middle
Remarried dads and stepdads often find themselves stuck in the middle, torn, or excluded from stepfamily relationships. Still, they hang in there with their wives, their stepchildren, and their children and make it work as well as they can. It’s rarely perfect, but what family is?

In honor of the many remarried fathers and stepfathers who’ve contributed their stories to my research, I want to thank our husbands, our kids’ stepdads, and our stepkids’ fathers for all they do to make our families a better place for each of us.

Happy Fathers’ Day to the dad who feels torn between his girlfriend and his 17-year-old daughter.

Happy Fathers’ Day to the stepdad who drove two hours to his future stepdaughter’s college campus to ask her if she’d be okay with him proposing to her mom.

Happy Fathers’ Day to the dad who’s working to keep the memory of his first wife alive with his children and grandchildren while making his current wife feel special.

Happy Fathers’ Day to the stepdad who posted bail.

Happy Fathers’ Day to the grandpa who longs for his sons’ children two thousand miles away, but baby-sits—and adores—his stepdaughter’s children every day.

Happy Fathers’ Day to the dad who can’t bear to hear his ex-wife’s voice, but calls her house anyway to stay connected with his 17-year-old son.

Happy Fathers’ Day to the dad who always comes through with an airplane ticket—“Frequent Flyer miles… just between us,”—when one of his kids needs a little taste of home.

Happy Fathers’ Day to the newlywed stepdad who keeps trying to make his grown stepchildren feel comfortable in their childhood home since the post-wedding remodel.

Happy Fathers’ Day to my dad, for helping your wife raise such a terrific son while continuing to challenge and support three young adult children of your own, for keeping the house in Ohio to be near us even though your wife prefers Florida, and for always making sure that we get a little alone time when I’m home.

Happy Fathers’ Day to my stepdad for teaching my little sister to drive, for letting me live with you and my mother while I saved up for my first house, and for loving my nieces like crazy.

Happy Fathers’ Day to my husband, who works endlessly to know each of his growing kids, who calmly hears me out and considers my thinking, and who always manages to keep the big picture in mind.

To the men in the middle, the forgotten men, the men with the most to lose if this thing goes sideways, to the super-hero dads and husbands who build bridges and tear down walls, and to the deer-in-the-headlights dads and husbands who can’t figure out why this stepfamily thing has to be so complicated: enjoy your day.

We know that tomorrow you’ll be back to doing your best and pulling for the family. We love you.
 
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