My step-dad Bob married my Mom and was all, “I’d really love it if you kids called me Dad”. And poor Bob didn’t know that the last thing you want to do when you become the patriarch of a household filled with 3 prepubescent pre teens and three full fledged teens is request that they call you Dad.
Especially when they’re Dad died and they’re already a little unsure about your coming into the family and forcing them to clean up after themselves.
Bob’s point of view was purely coming from a place of respect. Simply put, Dad is what you call the man who is married to your Mother and helps to care for the family in every sense of the word.
We pushed back. We would not call him Dad and his asking us to do so is one of the things that put a major hurdle in building a relationship with him in the beginning.
Bob negotiated, what if we called him Father? or Papa? Or…any kind of nickname that could set him apart from being just any other average man in our lives.
Bob wanted us to adopt him and we refused.
We could not say the word. It was a matter of loyalty to us and the title of father was all we had left to hold onto. We would not give it to him.
We giggled about his request behind his back, “Did Bob tell you he wants us to call him PAPA?” and then we would sing Barbara Streisand’s “Papa can you hear me?????” to one another and break into a fit of giggles.
I kind of hate that giggling teenager.