Eight years ago my step daughter Frankie lost her biological father to suicide. It is an event no child should have to experience. Or any parent should have to go through.
Frankie was turning six when I first met her. She was a quite little girl with a lack of confidence and a sadness about her. Although she didn’t remember the event, the emotional trauma surrounding it had stayed with her. All she wanted was a daddy like her friends had. She was aware of her difference.
Becoming a father figure in Frankie’s life was not going to be easy. It was going to take a huge commitment from me to step into that role. My relationship with Frankie was going to be as important as my relationship with Stacey.
There were times it was hard for me to hear her talk about her real dad early in the relationship. But it was only my pride being dented. And pride had no place in my relationship with her. I was the grown up, and she had every right to express her feelings toward her biological father. From me a show of patience and consistency would be all that was needed for our relationship to grow into a trusting connection.
As a result of my effort she slowly began to grow in confidence, in every aspect of her life. And I had the honour of being a part of her growth. She had a lot to get through emotionally and I had to be willing to help with that process.
On my wedding day to Stacey I also had vows written for Frankie. I had a ring made and made sure she was included in the day. I made a commitment under God to do to my best to love and take care of her until the day I died. She began calling me Daddy from that day on. And I am incredibly proud of the kind and caring young girl she has become.
I feel no less love for Frankie than I do the triplets. They are all my daughters, they are all my responsibility. They all have an equal place in my heart. For the many mistakes I have made in my life, to now see the difference a loving father can make in the life of another is like finding one of the keys to life. But it takes work and a willingness to change and grow as a human being.
Her fears around the triplets arrival were understandable. I have made sure she has been loved and included, right from the start of the pregnancy. She is an amazing big sister and loves the triplets more than anything.
I am lucky to have met such a beautiful little soul. She has blessed my life more than I can express. And I am proud to be called Daddy by her.