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Stepfather - James Love This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     Every morning James Lyle Love gets up at 5 a.m. todrive the giant C.C. Flowers van from our side of the state to the other and backagain. There is no hospital, restaurant, shelter, neighborhood or building he hasnot been to at least once. He is 27 years old and has one daughter but is afather to three others, one of whom is me. I guess you should know the backgroundstory.

When I was born my dad moved away and I didn't see him until I wassix, two years after my mom had started dating Jimmy. As far as I knew, Jimmy wasthe man who provided for my family, the one who comforted me and was there for mymom, my brother and me. Jimmy was a real dad, and although neither my brother norI belong to him by law, by definition he is my dad.

Since before I canremember, Jimmy was there. He saw me ride my first bike, made me feel betterafter I lost my first tooth, took me to see my first X-Men movie, and made everymoment of my childhood better.

Jimmy enjoys his job and loves to seepeoples' faces when he delivers flowers to them. He especially loved the look onmy face when he brought me a beautiful bouquet of lilies (my favorite flower).He's everything I could ever hope for in a dad.

I remember when I was sixand I rushed to school one day without eating. Jimmy, knowing how grumpy I amwithout breakfast, pulled me out of class to take me to Winchell's Donuts. On topof satisfying my hunger, he brought my class donuts so that no one would have abad day. On my birthday and all holidays, he brought me a box of chocolates,balloons and flowers.

Jimmy has a great sense of humor! Every day I gotout of school at 2:30, and since my mom worked later, he would pick up me and mybrother in his van and we would help him finish his deliveries. When we weredriving around, he would say, "Hey! You guys want to get some icecream?" and, of course, we would say yes. He would respond, "How doesit feel to want?"

He was hilarious. He was such a kid at heart. Mybrother and I had more fun with him than any other person in our lives.

Even though my mom and Jimmy have divorced, he continues to be a rolemodel for both my brother and me. Every day I compare myself to Jimmy and wonderhow he would handle each situation I am in.

I wish so much that I couldtell him how he has influenced my life. I learned more from him than any person Iknow or will ever meet. I believe that Jimmy is an everyday hero who does notreally come along every day.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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