‘He drilled my boyfriends. He put a down payment on my first car. He comes over to check my car’s oil and fix things that break.’: Woman celebrates father figure, ‘What day celebrates the Gene’s?’

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“As a kid, I didn’t know what to make of ‘Father’s Day.’ It always fell on the last weekend of the school year and was usually our last class ‘project.’

My dad left permanently when I was a baby. I was never really upset by this, it was just a fact. My teachers always seemed to know this. They always made sure to tell me I didn’t have to participate, but I could make something for Mom if I wanted! Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always loved my mom. She’s the absolute best and has always more than compensated for a lost parent. She continues to do SO much for me. But that’s what Mother’s Day is for, right?

But what really is a ‘dad?’

Gene has been in my life as long as I can remember. He and my mom started dating before I even started school, but they didn’t marry until I was in middle school. So he wasn’t my dad. He wasn’t even technically my step-dad. He was Gene. What day celebrates the Gene’s?

Josephine Erberich

Gene taught me everything I wanted to know about baseball. He came to all my practices and games and then started helping to coach my teams. Gene took me to the batting cages when the practice was canceled and I was bummed. And when I got to middle school and was low-key excited that practice was canceled because I could watch the new episode of my favorite TV show, he took me to the batting cages and then dropped me off at home while he went back out to get dinner, so I could watch the show live.

My mom and Gene split in middle school. Gene continued to invite me to dinners and take me on adventures with my (ex)-step-siblings.

When I started high school, he made sure to take me to my first day of fastpitch tryouts and celebrated with me when I made the team. As my passions changed and music started beating out softball, he asked me to bring my flute to his house to play for them my new solo. He came to my concerts. He came to my high school graduation, all of my PLU performances, and my college graduation.

He drilled my boyfriends. He put a down payment on my first adult car. And he continues to come over to check my car’s oil, fix things that break, and builds me bookshelves.

What is a dad?


Every year when I look through my students’ profiles to see only one parent listed, I hope they are a kid as lucky as me. A kid who ends up so much luckier than a ‘normal’ kid with their two biological parents. A kid that has a phenomenal biological parent who carries more than the responsibilities of both parents. And who, on top of that, has a Gene.

Happy Father’s Day, Gene. Thanks for being the best (ex-step-)dad.”

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Josephine Erberich. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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