My Stepfather,My Friend

Nine years ago,after Leo had died,people said to me,“I never knew he was your stepfather.”You see,I never called him that.At first,he was no one special in my life.Then he became my friend.In time,I felt he was my father too.

Leo married my mother when I was 11;two years later we moved into a house in a new suburb an development.At first,our lawn1) was just a mud pile with a few untidy clumps of grass,but Leo saw bright possibilities.“Your mother wants flowers;she can plant them here,where there’ s lots of sun,”he said,“We‘ll plant trees over there,to give us shade.And in the backyard,I‘d like a barbecue2).”

Then he smiled.“After so many years of apartment living,now we can have cookouts”

For years Leo had lived in an apartment by himself,and now he was putting down roots in the suburbs.At first our split-level3) house resembled all the others,but then it began to change.Little touches――my mother’s flower garden,Leo’s trees ――made our house unique.More important,a real family was forming within this house,with its own special traditions.Leo was becoming a full-time parent,and I was learning what it meant to have a father.

Weekday mornings when the weather was bad,Leo often drove me to school.Having a father drop you off may have been something my classmates took for granted,but I always thought it was wonderful .Saturday mornings,we went to the hardware store,then browsed4) in the five-and-ten5),buying a sports magazine for my brother and something for me.Some people might think that doing errands together is nothing special,but I,who had previously spent my childhood watching other families do these everyday activities,savored6) them now with intense delight.Looking back,I realize that Leo gave me what I needed most――the experience of doing ordinary things together as a family.

One day,we learned that my “real”father――who hadn’t seen or supported my brother or me for more than five years――wanted to see us again,on a regular basis.We remembered too well the early years we had spent with him.He had been angry and cruel,violent and unloving.Since my brother was then 17years old,he didn’t have to follow family-court stipulations7).But because I was still a“minor”,I had to meet with the judge.When Leo,my mother,and I entered the courtroom,my “real”father was already present.I avoided his glance and told the judge I was part of a new family now,and that Leo taught me how to make things,took me to the movies,and helped me with my homework.I said I didn’t want to see my “real”father anymore because he had never shown any love for me or even much attention.The judge looked at Leo.“How are things going?”he asked.“They couldn’t be better,”Leo answered.“I’m a lucky man to have such a family.”My “real”father’s visitation request was denied that day;he was out of my life,and I was deeply relieved.I also knew Leo had become my dearest friend.

Aren’ t the best parents also good friends to their children,accepting them without reservation and telling them they can be counted on?

Stepfamilies aren’ t bound by traditional ties,so the love and friendship they develop is extremely precious.Was Leo“perfect”?He‘d deny it if I said so.And that’s one reason why he was so“perfect”to me.Sometimes,during the first years my new family lived together,I‘d look out my bedroom window on warm summer nights and see Leo and my mother in front of our house.Together they’d walk.My parents,I would think.I actually have two parents.

Soon after we moved to the suburbs,on e of our new neighbors introduced herself to me.She had already met my mother and Leo.

“You know,”she remarked,“you look just like your father.”I knew she was just making conversation――but even so...“Thank you,”I said.Why tell her anything different?

NOTE 注释:

lawn [lC:n] n. 草地, 草坪

barbecue [5bB:bIkju:] n. 吃烤烧肉的野餐

split-level house 错层式地房子

browse [brauz] v. 随意观看

five-and-ten [`faIvEnd ten] n. 专售廉价物品的商店

savor [5seivE] vt. 尽情享受

stipulation [7stipju5leiFEn] n. 约定, 约束














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