Congratulations to Amber Zelina, winner of our first-annual Father's Day essay contest and a $100 gift card to Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar! Amber's essay immediately won us over; you can read it below.
My daughter knows that Craig, my husband, is her stepdad, but we never use the word “step” seeing as Craig is the only father they have known. Angelina thinks he is the best dad because even though Craig may not be her biological father, he is the best dad she could have asked for because he chose to be her dad! My son, on the other hand, thinks he has the coolest dad because Craig takes him to ball games and works to “put away the bad guys.”
I can sit here and say that he is the best father because any man can make a baby, but it takes a special man to raise and take on the responsibility of children that were not his. As a mother, I was so hesitant to find someone new since I had two small children. I was very happy to meet someone who didn't mind the fact that I had kids. After seeing the man I was dating was so amazing with my children, we got married and had a child of our own together, and seeing him raise all the children and not draw a line makes me so happy and blessed to be with such a wonderful man. Our children could not have a better dad, and I couldn't have a better husband.
I was a single mother and asked why this had to happen to them—not me! I was dealt the hand of having a father who walked away from my children and was given something better: a wonderful man to help me raise our children. Everything happens for a reason, and I know that sometimes we cannot see into the future or wonder what is going to come. I have learned to just enjoy every day as it comes. Craig has made me a better person—for example, I returned to school to get my bachelors degree in healthcare administration and stay home to raise our youngest daughter, Mackenzie. The little things in life are always the ones that make me smile, like when someone looks at my son and tells him he looks just like his dad! My son looks back up and says, “I know.” In a world where so many men walk away from responsibility, my husband embraced fatherhood and jumped right in. The best dads ever, by far, are the men who, like my husband, didn't “have” to be.
Congratulations as well to our runner-up, Kathryn Ohrenstein, whose essay about the differences that make her father exceptional we also loved.