they all begin the same

all bright and eager

Hero here:

let’s build a Family!

(you are a project now.)

they try–I will give them that.

full of good intentions

this mission is a diversion

solving temporarily 

the feeling of futility 


families are not made of fun

not Lego pieces

these fractured, odd shapes don’t snap into place

together is never 

so easy or seamless

there are no booklets with step by step instructions

no map through this strange kingdom

trophy families gather tarnish

we are not a balm

we cannot heal 

what your father broke in you

we are only children.

stepdads get tired

stepdads are sorry

and defeated

they say goodbye

they never look back.


3 thoughts on “stepdads

  1. Steve S. says:

    First off, this is beautifully written and really puts the reader in the protagonist’s shoes.

    As an aspiring stepdad, what advice would you give?


    • Hi Steve. Thank you for your kind comment and thoughtful question. While I’m by no means a parenting expert, my thought is that parenting is largely a one-way street where we give and invest in another human being with no control over the outcome or return on investment, so to speak. These stepdads in the poem asked too much of their step-children because they were emotionally needy and incomplete. If you approach parenting or step-parenting as an opportunity to give, rather than looking for what you’ll get out of it, I suspect you’ll do just fine. Make sure you are whole and healthy so that you can model that and stay centered throughout the inevitable ups and downs of parenting. 🙂


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