Toni and DaveWhenever a man marries a woman with a child, he has a decision to make. He can receive that child as his own, or he can choose to alienate that child. Whichever way he goes, he will find that it isn’t an easy job, if that child has a dad of his own already. There is a fine line between being a step-dad, and trying to replace the biological dad, and crossing the line is unacceptable. Nevertheless, if the step-dad wants to have some kind of relationship with his step-son, he has to establish the boundaries…for both their sakes. Often, the child had hoped his parents might get back together, or that his mom would never remarry…while knowing deep down that neither of these ideas were possible, or reasonable.

When my niece, Toni met her future second husband, Dave Chase, she found herself so truly happy, but she also wanted to make sure that her son, James was going to be ok with all this. In reality, she needn’t have worried about it, because while James wasn’t always receptive to Dave as a father figure, Dave would eventually win Florida triphim over. That’s the kind of guy Dave is. James couldn’t help but like him, even if he tried not to at first. It’s hard on a kid to have to accept that his parents will not get back together, but once James accepted that, he has found that his life with Toni and Dave has been a really great one. He still has the same contact with his dad, but he has been able to have some great experiences with his mom and step-dad.

Dave loves to travel, and especially to hike, and so the family has had the opportunity to visit places like Virginia Beach, Malibu, California, and Florida…all places James had never been before. They have hiked lots of places too, like the Mirror Lake Trail in the Snowy Range, near Laramie, Wyoming. And because Dave has never tried to replace his dad, James has accepted him a the great step-dad he is. All too often, if a step-dad finds that the relationship with his step-child isn’t a easy one, he simply quits trying, and that is really sad, because in all reality, none of these types of relationships are easy ones, but they are worthwhile if they work at them. I think that Dave’s easy going, fun loving personality was a big part of the reason that James warmed up to him so well. I’m sure they don’t always agree on just everything, but whenever I see them together, they are obviously getting along very well. James has his own dad, but he is also blessed with a great step-dad, who didn’t have to be so good to him, but James, Toni and Dave hikingwho chose to be so good to him. And that is a blessing indeed, because he didn’t have to be a great step-dad.

Dave is such a great fit in our entire family too. He is helpful to my sister, Cheryl Masterson, and my mom, Collene Spencer. He dearly loves his little nieces and nephews, and they love him too. Those little girls especially have their uncle wrapped around their little fingers. And that’s an ok place to be when you think about it. What could be better that to have all these little kids hanging around you and thinking you are the greatest. It just doesn’t get better than that. Today is Dave’s birthday. Happy birthday Dave!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

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