“Which one’s your actual dad?”
I get asked that a lot. They are both my actual dads. They both raise me and love me. They both always care for me, are always there for me, and always push me to be the best person I can be. They have both been my actual dads ever since they had the idea of having a little girl. They have been my actual dads since the day I was born in a California hospital. They were the very first ones to hold me.
They were my actual dads when I was a newborn, and I still smile at the pictures of the flight from San Diego back to Miami. My two dads held me the whole time looking at me like I was some sort of miracle. One of them was reading The New York Times, and I was in the crease of his elbow while he was holding the newspaper. This picture makes me laugh because he still, 12 years later, reads The New York Times every morning. When I was little, I would race my little sister outside to get the newspaper first. It was so important to wake up early and get my dad his paper. That was part of my morning ritual. It is much harder for me to wake up early now. I have changed, but my dads haven’t. They still look at me “like I am some sort of miracle.”
I had said I had two dads, and one girl said; that I “didn’t have a real family because I didn’t have a mom.” Boom. It was like something inside of me had popped.
They were my actual dads at my ballet recitals that started when I was very little because I wanted to be a ballerina. Every year, they would take me to The Nutcracker. I remember we went backstage, and I met the Sugar Plum Fairy. She gave me an autographed pointe ballet slipper. I pointed out to my dads how perfect her hair was and asked them if they could do that for me. When I would get ready to dance, to be honest, my dads weren’t really good at doing my hair. I loved them anyway.
In third grade, I started Flamenco dancing. My dad would always call it “flamingo,” like the bird, instead of Flamenco. I would get so annoyed! Dad humor. He is a birder, so he knows the difference. I didn’t look or feel like a pink bird; I felt like a famous dancer from Spain performing in front of thousands of people, even though I was on an elementary school stage in front of my school with six other girls.
They were my actual dads when I got accepted into an awesome middle school. They were so happy and supportive. I had studied hard for the acceptance test. They believed in me and said that I would get in. They were proud of me, and it was one of the best feelings ever.
They were my actual dads at my first jazz/hip-hop dance show at my new school. I was so excited for them to watch me because I had worked so hard. That was a very proud moment for me because I was at my new school, and I was dancing in front of all my new friends. But in the end, the two who mattered most were watching me, my dads.
Singing has always, and will always, be one of the biggest parts of my life. They have been my actual dads during my voice lessons—always watching me practice over and over again. When I perform, they record my performances and send them to everyone they know. I am always embarrassed, but I understand that they are proud of me and that it makes them happy to share videos of me. The stage is my happy place. I used to compare myself to everyone else, but now I just compete with myself. Every time, they always say how much better I’ve gotten and how proud they are.
They have been my actual dads watching me act in plays and musicals, and they always clear their schedules months in advance just to watch me. I have always been a drama queen, so, of course, I auditioned for the musical at my school. They went all three nights to watch me, which showed how proud they were. My dads knew how much it meant.
They were my actual dads when they sat me down and had “The Talk” with me. It was weird to me, but I know that they felt it was important. Later, I realized how awkward it must have been for them. They were always concerned for me because I was the oldest daughter without a mom. At first, it was hard, but it got much easier to talk to them about things. They are always trying to make it easier to talk to them about private things that they think are important. Our communication has gotten a lot easier the more we talk.
They have been my actual dads comforting me when I cried because a mean kid popped my protection bubble. It happened out of the blue. And it happened very quick. It was my first experience of bullying; it made me confused and so sad. I was in kindergarten, and we were on the playground talking about our parents. I had said I had two dads, and one girl said; that I “didn’t have a real family because I didn’t have a mom.” Boom. It was like something inside of me had popped. I remember it like yesterday; my heart was broken. Having two dads was all I had ever known. They were my parents. To me, they were amazing. I loved them with all of my heart, and I still do. Later, I realized that the girl who said that didn’t know better. She didn’t get it. I have had many similar experiences, and they have made me stronger and smarter. Whenever people tell me those things, I just don’t listen to them. I know they just don’t get it.
My dads are bears protecting their cub—always there for me. They always want to know what’s up and what I am doing. They are still there for me when I need them, and when I don’t. Whether it is school, friends, or whatever is on my mind, they always listen to me. Our relationship has changed a lot as I have gotten older. My actual dads say that I am growing up so fast.
They have been my actual dads since my first breath.
They are the dynamic duo dads, perfect people who are my parents.
They make me unique, and they are so special.
They are both my dads.
They are my actual dads.