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.