My stepdad Art used to say that he wasn’t a stepfather, he was a father who stepped up. So, what is he now that due to my mom’s pending divorce proceedings, he has been forced to step down?

To think that blood or marriage are necessary to intertwine the lives of two strangers ignores a whole world of beautiful and unexpected relationships. Just because Art isn’t my stepdad anymore doesn’t mean he has to stop playing an active role in my life.

Here are but eight of the many roles my stepdad can play in my life now that my mom has divorced him.

1. A chauffeur who drives me to and from my mom's house because it's on his way home.

Ask anyone and you’ll find that at some point in their life, they’ve had a truly magical conversation while sitting in the backseat of a taxi or Uber. Because he and my mom decided he would get the Nissan Versa in the divorce settlement, and because he is currently living in the basement until he finds somewhere more permanent to live, Art is always down to give me a ride home—why wouldn’t he be, it's on his way.

2. A bank teller overeager to waive overdraft fees on my debit card in an attempt to maintain our relationship.

I used to think the fact that Art was a bank teller was the lamest thing in the entire world. Until I was 14, if anyone ever asked me what my stepdad did for a living I would just lie and say he died in the military to avoid the embarrassment. But who knew Art’s job would prove so crucial to us maintaining a strong relationship after the divorce? Now, once or twice a month I’ll drop in and visit him at work where he’ll sneak me a couple lollipops and waive the overdraft fees on my debit card.

3. One of my Facebook friends who has the same last name as my mom.

Although he’s no longer my stepdad, the realities of modern-day social media make it so Art will always be one of my Facebook friends who happens to have the same last name as my mom because she didn’t want to go through the hassle of changing it back.

4. The policyholder of my medical insurance who says it's time for me to look into getting my own plan but honestly it's the least of his worries right now.

Even though I no longer consider him a father figure, Art and my relationship isn’t any worse than it was before—it's just different. Now, I look at him instead as the policyholder of my medical insurance who keeps telling me it's time to look into getting my own plan.

I’m not sure if Art would ever have the courage to kick me off his plan, but what I do know is that what with the divorce and everything, he has bigger problems at the moment than pestering me about my dependent status.

5. An old friend of mine who can't help but ask if my mom is already on any dating apps while he's wishing me a happy birthday.

Friends are the family we choose, and part of being a good friend is being there for the big moments, like graduations and birthdays. Now, Art and I get to explore our new friendship, unbound by the claustrophobic confines of a stepdad/stepson dynamic. Art always reaches out after big milestones in my life, or just to check in. He also happens to always ask if my mom is already on any dating apps while doing so.

6. My middle school science fair partner whose technical ability left a lot to be desired.

Art seemed absolutely clueless about how to use a potato as a battery and even suggested it wasn’t even possible in the first place. He’s never been very crafty and is even less scientifically-minded, so he didn’t end up adding much to the project on the whole. However, he bumbled around with a hot glue gun for hours while I scribbled away on a poster board and that’s something that no one can ever take from us

7. A weird old guy whose music taste I made fun of constantly until college when I got into the same exact stuff because of a girl but never thought to apologize to him or even really acknowledge our new shared interest.

Boy, did Art love Fleetwood Mac. He’d go on and on and on about them. And sure I’d call them Fleetwood Sack, and Suckwood Ass, and SkeetGood Blast, and ReeksLike Trash, but I was 13, give me a break.

And sure, when that girl from my chem class told me they were her favorite band, I afforded her a different open-mindedness than I’d afforded Art and quickly fell in love with the heart-wrenching emotional complexity of their music, but c’mon, that’s what stepdads are for: teasing about their old-man music.

8. The random guy in all the pictures at my mom's second wedding.

Art and my mom’s divorce wasn’t pretty, but not so ugly that my mom had to take down their wedding photos from Facebook or the mantel—they did cost ten grand after all, and I’m pretty sure there were relatives there who died before we could see them again.

So, no matter the fact that Art isn’t my stepdad anymore, one thing I know for sure is that he will always be the random guy in all the pictures of my mom’s second wedding. And while my mom will likely remarry—probably pretty soon, actually, as she doesn’t seem very shaken by the divorce—Art will live on in those photos forever, and I think that’s beautiful.