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Johnny, My Son

step·fa·ther (stèp'fä´ther) noun - "the husband of one's mother and not one's natural father."

Yes, technically I am only a stepfather. I have no sons or daughters of my own. But although I may not be a father, I am something much better. Something even more important. I am someone's Daddy.

I had traveled almost 700 miles to meet the boy I now call Son, when he was only five weeks old. I had known his mother already for two years. In fact, at one time, we had been a lot more than just friends. And I was still in love with her. But that is another story.

I remember so vividly the first time I held Johnny. The first night I helped his Mom bathe him in that tiny little red and blue tub. He was so small. So fragile. It was no time at all before he had stolen my heart. My first visit lasted only a few days, but we spent every possible moment together. You see, his natural father was hundreds of miles away. It might as well have been a thousand because he hasn't been heard from since right after Johnny was born.

Over the next year and a half, I made many trips to be with them both. I was able to do so many things both with and for him. Feedings, baths, diaper changes, the things a father might cringe at doing or merely take for granted. We would take naps on the sofa with him laying on my belly as we both clung onto each other for dear life. Oh how his Mom would laugh at us! We had become inseparable, at least until it was time for me to leave for home again. And each time, as I packed up the car for my journey home, I fought back the tears. I would drive for hours feeling empty and numb. It was the loneliest feeling I'd ever had.

It all seems so long ago. You see, his Mom and I decided to try to work out our previous problems. I eventually was asked to move in with them. We were going to take it slow and for a full year that is what we did. Well we have now been married for over a year and a half, and Johnny just recently turned four years old. Since that very first visit, I have seen him grow and learn and experience so many new and wondrous things. I have rejoiced in his happiness and suffered with him through his pains and sorrows.

Johnny has taught me the meaning of unconditional love. He has shown me that I do have the ability to put another person's well-being above my own, without limits.

I guess I must be doing something right. There is hardly ever a day that goes by that Johnny doesn't come up to me and say, "You know what Daddy?. "What Son ? is the expected reply. To which he answers back, in a drawn out tone, "I loooove you!.

This is the greatest gift any one man could ever receive. Thank you Lord, for Johnny, my Son. Thank you for letting me be his Daddy.

© 2005 - 2012 Hal Levy and the above captioned author.