You might think this is a story about wooden steps leading from one floor to another, or concrete steps leading outdoors, but to the contrary, it is a story about a tall thin man who fell in love with a beautiful single mother with soft blue eyes and auburn hair. The man’s name was Leartis, Lee for short and the single mother’s name was Roberta, Bertie for short.
I was five years old when Lee met Mom and I must admit, I was very shy around him. In fact, Mom wanted me to call him Lee, but all I could muster up was, “Man.” This is where my story ends and my letter begins to a man who soon became, “Dad.”
It snowed today. It was a beautiful snow that covered the bushes and tree branches with a marshmallow look that filled my heart with joy. As I looked up to Heaven, thinking of you I was taken back to another time when you met and fell in love with Mom. I was so timid around you and you were so patient with me.
Do you remember, when I called you, “Man?” Mom would look at me with her blue eyes, pleading eyes wishing I would call you, Dad, but somehow I was not ready. I remember listening to you talking to Mom and then squinting as you gave her those little kisses that made Mom giggle.
Did you know that I practiced saying, ” Dad, Daddy, Father,” every time you walked by me, or when I heard you come in from work? Silently, I would say, ” Hi, Dad, Hi, Daddy, Hello, Father. But those precious words would not leave my lips until our first Halloween together.
It was a cold Halloween, as Mom and I went out to enjoy my first Trick or Treating. After we got back with a basket half-filled with candy, I settled in to watch the movie, The Wizard of Oz. You were in the kitchen getting a cup of coffee when all of a sudden, someone threw something at our front room window and scared me so badly that I trembled. As I heard you walking down the hallway, I remember shouting, ” Daddy help me, I am afraid!” You came over to me and held me on your lap and said, ” Daddy’s here, it’s alright. I am here.” You hugged me and kissed my forehead. From that day forward, the timid feeling I felt was replaced with a love for a man who stole my heart. A love that continues to grow like a sapling reaching for the sky.
Over the years, you and Mom were blessed with three more children, Donna, Emma, and Lee. I have always considered them my special gifts from God. To this day, there isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for them.
Mom once told me that you thought of me as your daughter while you two were dating. My heart soared when I heard those words. Thank you for never treating me any different from my sisters and brother.
I remember one day when one of your friends from the plant stopped by for a short visit and asked if I was your stepdaughter. You looked at him and said, ” There are no steps here, only family.” You looked at me as you said it, and I could feel your love radiate across the room.
You never ceased to amaze me with just how much you cared for your family. Another time someone else, asked the same question and you answered, ” The only steps here are the ones we climb at night.”
How do I thank you, Dad, for all the wonderful years? There are no words to thank you for falling in love with Mom and accepting me as your daughter. By the way, how is Mom? We all miss her so much but we know that you are together in Heaven.
Today is your special day! It is hard to believe that you are celebrating your 95th birthday in Heaven. Give Mom a big hug from all of us. One more thing; please ask God to hold Donna’s hand through her hip surgery.
Your loving daughter,
Dear Cindy, Donna, Emma, and Lee,
Mom and I love you very much. It was hard when we both made our journey to Heaven, but we knew the four of you would be okay because you had each other. It is so beautiful here. You know how Mom loved her tulips. Well, she walks through the tulips beds every day. She is having a wonderful time with her family and friends. I love the animals. They are everywhere! Mom and I are closer than you know. We even visit our grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I have a message for Donna; everything will be okay. We will be there when you get your new hip. Emma and Lee, we are always with you too. Emma, God has your eyes covered and Lee, we hear your laughter all the way up here! Every time you think of us, we are with you. We love you and always will. And to Cindy; you were always my little girl.
My Heartfelt Thoughts………………………………………….
I was six when Mom married Lee Brodt. Sixty-three years ago, Lee went from, “Man” to “Dad.” Really….. How do I begin to thank this man whom God sent to me for all the wonderful lessons, guidance and love? A man who believed in me and always encouraged me to live my dreams. The only way I know is to keep making him proud of me, keep helping others and to continue to always be there for my three special gifts, Donna, Emma, and Lee. I love you, Dad. Until we meet again……