Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Bonus Dad

I am a lucky girl. Look at my amazing family. 

This is my Dad's side. 

The Pier Family. Shane and Ryan not in photo.

And this is the most recent Collins family photo. 

Everyone except for Seth. 

       As a child of divorce I have been blessed with two families. My parents divorced when I was 6 and both were remarried by the time I was 9. I grew up with two moms and two dads and lots of siblings. We don't use the word "Step" in describing who they are in my life. We use the term "Bonus". I have a bonus mom and a bonus dad and love them just like you would a biological parent. I love all my siblings as if we were full blood. I couldn't imagine my family any other way at this point. 

         So when I told someone about Tyler having cancer and they asked me why I cared so much since he was "just my step dad" I was shocked. I feel everything has been a shock lately.  You really never think it is going to happen to you or someone in your family and then it does. The past few weeks have been such a blur. It feels like time has stopped and at the same time it is moving in fast motion. From the moment Tyler's cancer was diagnosed it has felt like this. 

       When my parents divorced and my mom married Tyler I had two dads. Tyler has been to all my birthday parties, he would "interview" boys when they would pick me up for dates and truly loved me and my sisters like his own. Just like any other parent he sometimes got on my nerves and pushed my buttons. Overall he has been a great role model for me and been a support throughout my entire life. I truly love him with all my heart. 

      Finding out he had cancer was horrible. Many tears have been shed and a lot of prayers have been said. It has been horrible to watch someone I love be in so much pain and  unable to do anything about it. If you would like the whole medical side of this story my mom has shared it on her blog. She truly has been the rock of our family lately. What you won't read on her blog is that sometimes she calls me at four at the morning when she can't sleep crying. She stays so strong for our family and so she can run her company that when it is late at night and she has run out of things to keep her mind busy that she lets herself not be strong for a little while. She is such a great example to me and I can only imagine how hard it must be to watch her husband be in so much pain. 

         Mom and Tyler have been married for 17 years. During their marriage Tyler has also been so supportive of my mom. My mom has never had to mow the lawn or fill her car up with gas or other small things. Tyler is always trying to take care of her. He has missed an anniversary or two but I can see the love they have for each other. They write each other little notes and leave them on the bathroom mirror before they go to work just to say I love you. I have been able to watch the roles reverse between these two the past few weeks with my mom taking care of Tyler. I have loved watching them lean on each others for support during this hard time. 

      Not only is Tyler my Bonus Dad but I also get to work with him. He is a podiatrist and I am the office manger for his clinic. Now working him has been great sometimes and also not much fun at others. It can be hard working for him because he is my dad. Most of the time it was just like any other job. I have worked for him for 3 and half years. During that time I have only gotten closer to him. There has been multiple times when I was having a bad day and he helped me through it with a kind word or hug. It has truly made us grow closer too. 

      An amazing thing I been able to witness because of working with him is how much he loves his job and how much his patients love him. He has hated that he hasn't been able to see his patients. He knows his patients very well. He knows about their families and jobs. He asks about how their vacations went or how the tomatoes are growing in their gardens. He treats them medically but also considers them friends. 

        One the hardest things for me has been having to reschedule or cancel his patients appointments because of a chemo treatment or he was just to sick to come in. It has also been a blessing in disguise. Every time I had to call and let a someone know about Tyler's cancer I have heard wonderful things. Many patients have cried on the phone with me expressing love and friendship for Ty. It has been amazing to know that so many people care for him and are praying for his recovery along with our family. 

     I was at my parents home a few weeks ago and it had been an emotional day for our family. I had never seen Tyler cry growing up. The first time I ever did was after his cancer was diagnosed. Since then I have seen it many times. And my heart breaks every time. This day he was crying after being given a blessing of healing. He was giving each member of the family a hug and telling us how much he loved us. When he hugged me there were already tears rolling down my face and his. He said to me "Here is my best friend. I spend more time with you because of work then I do with anyone else. I love you so much Tay." It is a memory I will forever cherish and describes our relationship perfectly. 


         This man is a great father, husband and grandpa. He loves spending time with the grandbabies and playing on the floor with them. Even after he was diagnosed and was in so much pain he was taking my brothers fishing and going to baseball games. He is such a fighter. He has only had his first round of Chemo and got a mean infection  a few days after that caused him to be hospitalized for 5 days. I was able to go up and visit him the day after he had  the hospital staff shave his head. He looked so handsome even with no hair. 

       I know our family is going to have a long journey ahead of us but we are so close and I know that we will stick together. We will come out stronger because of this trail. We have amazing friends who are giving us much love and support. There hasn't been one day since we told our ward at church about Tyler's illness that someone hasn't reached out to lend a helping hand. We truly have an amazing support system. 

      I don't want anyone to doubt my love for Tyler just because he is my "stepdad". He is more then that. I am grateful for his love and his support of me. I am cheering him on everyday and praying for him constantly. He is an amazing man and is going to fight this cancer with all he has! I am proud to be his bonus daughter. 


  1. This is a very touching post. You can really feel the love in your words. This is a beautiful outlet for your tough experiences. And I know others will benefit from reading it. Thinking of you guys.

  2. Wow! What a wonderful story of love and compassion in a family, and between a father and daughter (no such thing as "step" in your heart). I have had the pleasure of meeting your mother thru a mutual friend and thru her business. She is an amazing woman herself. However, I can only imagine the pain and sadness in her heart right now. So glad your family is strong and there for each other. It is events like this that test our faith and our resilience. I have no doubt that the Collins family will only become stronger thru this. There are many prayers going up for you all. I will add one more today.

  3. He is so fortunate to have you as his "bonus daughter" , supporting him through this journey. That is exactly the way blended families should be.....My prayers are with you and your family.

  4. I am a "bonus" Mom & love them like I birthed them....I have (technically) a half brother & sister but those terms mean NOTHING to us. We are family.....I cannot imagine life without them. This was a beautifully written testament to love & family. I know the road will be rocky but it will make it all the better when he triumphs over the beast. AND HE WILL!

  5. This is a beautiful post! Thank you so much for sharing!

  6. Taylor, I have tears rolling down my face. That was so touching the love and compassion you all have in your family. Wow. When I read your moms blog a few days ago I was in shock. I met your mom and Tyler when she was teaching class in Texas. You could see the love they had for each other. The word CANCER is so horrible. I went thru what he is going thru last year when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Every time I hear that another person has cancer it really hits home. I know he has a different kind of cancer but cancer is cancer. I was the one with cancer and I was the one that had to be strong for my family because my husband was so upset and couldn't deal with it. I couldn't talk about it much because I wanted life the same way before cancer came in the picture. I did learn that you need to talk about it. That is good therapy. I didn't and I came crashing down a several months after radiation. I found out that I needed to talk about it. I will be praying for each and everyone of you. Your mom has such faith and positive attitude and that is wonderful. We will keep the FAITH that all of yall will get thru this. HUGS to you.

  7. You made me cry but, I still love you like my very own. You can do hard things too!

  8. I cried when I read your mom's blog and again today when I read yours. You are so lucky-you have two loving families to help each other through this trying time. I am a "bonus mom" but my "bonus" children do not feel the same about me as you do with your family. I only wish they did-I could have used more support when my husband was going through a medical problem and no one called me to offer support, the way you are offering it. You and your families are truly blessed and I am sure that with your faith you will all get through this. My prayers go out to your family as do my hugs.

  9. Hang in there and keep the faith. You all have each other to lean on that is wonderful.

  10. Good Afternoon Tersa, i have read it al and yu and your Family are Amazing people and so strong, prayers going out toyou and family and friends and i think about you and your family all the time.. god has blessed yu and your family on how much love there is in your family. I hope the best to you and your family.Your Father is a Amazing Father. hugs and love goes to yu and your family and Amazing Father.

  11. Taylor there are a few things have found out by dealing with cancer and one of them is sometimes people say some very hurtful things to you even if they do not know in their heart they think they are saying something good! Hugs and know that what they say does not change your life or your feelings! I shall keep you and your family in my prayers that this journey be one of blessings, strength and happy endings.

  12. What a beautiful tribute to what seems to be a super great man. I am sure by the words you write he knows just how much you love and care for him. I will keep him in my prayers as well as the rest of your family.

    Being a bonus mom myself, I can tell you that it is super special when your child tells you how much you mean to them, even if you did not birth them.

    Thanks for sharing

    gina, gina, gina

  13. What a special post. Well done. Wishing you all strength and healing.

  14. Taylor what an awesome Post! You are certainly your mother's daughter & that is awesome! I worked for over 11 years at a job where I took care of hundreds of children on a short term basis & fell in love with each & everyone of them. I cared for children from newborn age up. Many of these children was in my care as they had parent(s) that made bad choices. I believe with your post you have opened so many eyes to what there really is & can be in life. What a true blessing to love & be loved by 2 sets of parents & additional siblings! You are a blessing & an awesome daughter to your 4 parents! I know from your Mothers posts that she is a hard worker & a great Mom to her children. You are a great source of love for your entire family! God Bless you all & I will have your entire family in my prayers! Hugs Taylor & Teresa!

  15. I met your mom and bonus dad in Italy this past June and totally fell in love with them. I'm so sorry to hear this news and will be thinking and praying for you all in these coming tough months.
    I briefly read a bit of your blog, then later found this quote on Dyan Reaveley's blog...she always finds the best and quirkiest ones!
    It made me think of you and what and why you're sharing your heart.

    "When you stand and share your story in an empowering way,
    your story will heal you and your story will heal someone else..."
    Ivanla Vanzant

  16. Good job, spelling it out!
    You're right you know!
    And one of your commentors was right, people really don't know what to say and sometimes it's hurtful!
    Stay strong!
    Lots of people are praying for you!
    I was at a 'bonus' family wedding, and a sign said, "Pick a seat not a side"!

  17. I have goosebumps reading this Taylor! I also come from a large crazy blended family where we never specified half, step, whatever. We were all family! I love that you say 'Bonus' - that is awesome!!! My heart goes out to you and your family at what you are going through! Stay strong together - that is the only way to get through it! My thoughts are with you all!!

  18. Hi Taylor honey, oh there is so much I want to say but I can't quite find the way to put the words down in writing. I am filled with all sorts of emotions for you and your truly scrumptiously gorgeous family! I LOVE the word ''Bonus''... I have a bonus son and daughter and I am truly lucky that they both love me very much. David is 27 and Claire is 31. I wasn't able to have children so my relationship with them is even more precious. Claire has cerebal palsy and mentally is about 11 or 12 so I get to send her lots of ''girly'' things and spoil her with glitter, nail polish and all those yummy girly things which is such a blessing for me. We don't live in the same city as either of them so I don't get to see them very much which is a shame.
    Honey re Tyler, what a wonderful relationship you have with him. It is truly special to read about and thank you SO much for sharing your story, it will help so many people think about ''bonus'' rather than ''step''.
    My thoughts and extra strength are with you and your wonderful family every second of every day and I send hugs across the world from New Zealand. xxxx

  19. What a wonderful encouragement you must me to your Mom and Dad. Praying for you all...

  20. Lovely post Taylor, sending prayers daily to your family. Take care, I worry about your mom.

  21. wow!!! what a beautiful affirmation of what can truly develop when parents divorce and re-marry..you are sooo blessed and so is your bonus dad!! this dear man is surrounded by so much love and goodness..although times will be difficult for him and your family he will come thru this, of that I have no doubt..please know I am keeping you and your Dad and Mom in my thoughts and prayers..xox marie

  22. wow I love the "bonus" instead of step! stay strong! You have a great head on your shoulders!

  23. What a wonderful family you have all created. Your dad and mom must be so proud of you, and rightfully so. Your dad knows how much you care about him and support him especially at this time. He is fortunate to have you as one of his "cheerleaders." With all of that strength and positive energy surrounding him, he can only get better. Keeping all of you in my thoughts.

  24. I hope you print out the heading to this blog and post it in your Bonus Dad's room, or hide it in different places he might find it. You are a joy and I know all your parents appreciate your love and support! God IS with you all!

  25. Taylor, what an amazing young woman you are! I am praying for your bonus Dad and Mom, and also for you and the rest of your family, for strength and courage, and peace! Going through cancer certainly takes a "village"!

  26. Taylor, I'm one of your "Bonus" Dads patients. I have been for some time. He always loved to talk about his family and he did show how much he loves all of you. Saturday night was the first time I've learned of Tyler's illness. My heart has ached every since. I've read your Mom's wonderful tribute several times as well as yours. Its beautiful and a touching tribute to Tyler.
    My prayers, love and thoughts are flowing to you and your family and especially Tyler. I have been sad and feel like he's a friend as well as my Doctor. I share my best with all of you.

  27. What a beautiful touching post, thank you so much for sharing. Prayers and hugs headed your way ;)