What It Takes

Shelby Crowley - Bridgeport, Texas
Entered on May 19, 2010
Age Group: Under 18
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My eyes are blue and his are green, but that’s okay, we’re not related. But when you look past the difference in our eyes, the shape of our noses, and the tone of our skin, you can see a definite resemblance. I hold my head up high with confidence like he taught me. I speak my mind, and I have to know “why”—these characteristics are a product of his sacrificed time with me.

Going back and forth between my mother’s and father’s house took some getting used to, but the worst part was thinking their divorce was my fault. That thought haunted me year after year, but the man who entered my life when I was only four years old changed my entire outlook on the situation. He gradually taught me that it wasn’t my fault and that the world is a strange place but thank God it’s only temporary.

He is six foot two and as rough as his callused hands, but his heart is tender like warm butter on hot breakfast pancakes. He is the man who gave me baths and tucked me in at night, and he was also the man who whipped my tail when it was necessary. This man is the one who drove me to school dances and waited up until I came home with a mouthful of stories. He was the one who listened intently and never complained, with an understanding smile.

This man was the one who bought me my first truck and intimidated my first boyfriend who just so happened to be a brave senior who asked me to prom. This man gave me the advice I didn’t want to hear, but I never listened and still after that boy ripped out my heart and I felt like I was dying, he was the one who told me, “Honey your heart is still there because I would never let some boy run off with something so precious.”

He thought he was ten feet tall and bulletproof, and I won’t lie, I thought so too. He is, was, and will always be my hero. His name is not on my birth certificate and we don’t share the same DNA, but who is to say that he can’t be my dad? Who will tell me that the person who raised me and taught me right from wrong is not my dad? Who?

He is a man who stood up and took responsibility for four children who weren’t even his. He is mighty and brave. He is my dad, the man I believe in. I believe that any man can become a father, but it takes a real man to become a dad.

Shelby Crowley is a high school senior, graduating in the top quarter of her senior class. She plans to attend college to learn to become a speech pathologist. She is passionate about music and lives to see people smile. She wants to thank her stepfather for giving her the chance to have a better life, and she hopes he is proud of her.