Last week I got to experience for the first time in my life what it was like to pet pigs, go on rides, and eat funnel cake with my wife and teenage stepdaughter. Yes, the fair came to town, and it was one of the best endeavors I’ve had so far as a stepfather.

While I don’t want to give you a play-by-play of every single thing that happened, I do want to highlight some of the things that I enjoyed the most about it. For instance, we got to pet some sheep together, as well as pigs and llamas. I bent down to stroke the fur and my stepdaughter looked at me and said, “What’s it feel like?” I told her it was like a wool sweater, and she bent down beside me to have a feel for herself. She admitted it was kind of weird, and that’s fine. I looked at her out of the corner of my eye as she crouched down, and I saw a smile on her face. It took my breath away for a second to see her grin like that.

From there we played a few games. She popped some balloons with darts, won a prize (a little pig), and I did the same thing so I could win my wife something (a pink dolphin). Then it was decided that her and I were going to go on a ride. For the record, I’m not  big fan of rides. I get freaked out by things that turn me upside down, or spin me right round baby, right round like a record.

There we were though, getting into the seat of a ride that was going to propel us back and forth, around in our seat, at something close to the speed of sound. Of course, my wife doesn’t like rides, so it was just the two of us. We closed the metal restraining bar, and we were off. The next thing I know I’m being pushed up against her from the g-force and she’s going, “Ow!” I tried to move back over to my side of the seat but, you know, physics wouldn’t let me. I screamed out, “I’m sorry.” We both had a smile on our face the whole time, so it’s not like she was being crushed to death or anything. She quickly replied, “It’s okay. It’s not your fault.”

I know it’s a little thing, but the fact that she said that made me feel good inside. Why? Because it means that she’s not looking for the tiniest of details to pick on. She’s not looking to hate me as someone who is trying to take her mother away from her, or replace her real father. She’s in a good place, and I’m right there with her, and she understands the bond my wife and I share. For some kids, they could very easily hide in their shells looking for an excuse not to like their new stepparent, but not my daughter. She’s open to new ideas, possibilities, and I can only hope that as we grow as a family, we get to experience all kinds of things together like that, and she continues to love and respect me as her stepfather. I’m not asking for the world, or even more funnel cake, just a family. One that gets along and talks openly to one another, with trust, honesty, love, and laughter acting as the glue that holds it all together.

That’s not too much to ask, right?