Dear Step Daughter – Growing in Gravel

I wrote the post below 5 years ago now. It’s crazy how much has changed and how we’ve grown even in that time! There’s so much I could add to this letter to our oldest, but just re reading it now shows me that my intentions and feelings for her haven’t changed. It reminds me that we are in this for her, that we are building a life for our children, one that hopefully they won’t need to recover from. We’ve created more memories, bonded in new ways and experienced more conflict in our family dynamic in the past five years.. but we keep blooming. We keep growing and I love the family we have created. I am so utterly grateful for this life i get to live with the people I get to live it with. ❤

This year I celebrated my 30th birthday. I can’t believe 30 years has flown
by so fast. I have had some incredible experiences. This year, I celebrated my
birthday in a way that I never dreamed. I always thought I would be on a
cruise ship headed for Greece with my best girl friends having margaritas and
soaking up the sun. This year, I  am celebrating with you. I get to celebrate
with my husband, son and you. I never imagined myself as a step parent and I
never imagined that being one would be so difficult, so rewarding, so scary or
such a blessing. I can’t lie to you, life as a step family hasn’t always been
easy. I am sure you can attest to the truth in that as well. As of today, I can
name countless mistakes I have made with you, things I shouldn’t have said but
did, things I should have said but didn’t and missed moments just to
name a few. I am confident that I will make more mistakes as the years ramble
on. I know that I will not always act selflessly, or even in your best
interest. It will NEVER be intentional, but I am human, and prone to mistakes.
I am a simple package of skin, bone, blood and emotions. Sometimes, the
emotions rule and I fail. I promised you the day I married your dad that I
would always try my best. I meant it then and I mean it now. I pray that
someday, our life won’t feel so complicated. That my relationship with you will
feel nearly as natural as the one I have with my biological child. I pray that
there will be peace between both your homes and that we, as adults, take
responsibility for our own relationships with you. Our bonds with
you don’t negate any feelings you have for or with any other parent and
you are allowed to love each and every adult in your life.
I want to speak truth into you. I want to be an encouraging force to you. I
want to help you to see that you truly can accomplish anything. I want to be
there when you screw up, so that I can remind you that imperfections and
failures make us human.
I attended an awards ceremony for you recently. When I saw you, I had tears in
my eyes. I quickly swallowed them back. I felt I couldn’t allow anyone to see,
because I am not your mother. Sometimes it feels like society has expectations
of step parents that are hard to fulfill. I am “supposed” to fulfill
motherly duties like taking care of you, but showing emotions like being
attached and proud of you can cause resentment and confusion from others
because I am not your mom, and if I am not attached and bonded with you, then
why not?  If you ever read this, I hope that you can understand that I am
trying my best to navigate these waters, to know you, and to be someone who
tells you the truth and creates peace in your world for you as you try to
navigate the waters of multiple homes and blended families.

If I could tell you some things today, it would be this:
#1 I am not you mom and that is okay. I am blessed because I get to have you in
my life and hopefully and prayerfully be a positive influence in yours. We get
to know each other and learn from another relationship standpoint. I have no
intention of ever, ever trying to take her place. I am just trying to find
mine.
#2 I don’t hate your mom. It’s extremely difficult from an emotional stand
point being married to a man who was married before. I came second. I will
always come second. My baby won’t be his first child. Our wedding was his
second wedding. Your dad has memories with you and your mom that I will
never be a part of. It’s hard, I get jealous. And if I am completely honest,
there are times I am extremely frustrated that there is a woman in our lives
that can have a say in how we live and how we make decisions like when we can
travel together as a family. But, I don’t hate her. Honestly.. your father’s
life with you and your mother has made him a better husband for me and a better
dad for all of you. His experiences with her have allowed us to have the life
we have today. It allows me to know you, and I wouldn’t trade that for
anything.
#3 I pray for you. Daily.
#4 Watching you as a big sister has been amazing. Your brother adores you.
Seeing how he loves you and looks up to, and your kindness, patience and
acceptance of him has been an eye opener to who you are at your core. I can’t
imagine our family without you in it, and I feel like your brother’s life is
better because of you.
#5 You had every right to feel hurt and resentment when your dad married me. It
would have been a justifiable reaction to your dad having someone new in his
life. You accepted me immediately and rarely offered any disrespect. You never
accused me of not being your mom out of anger or hurt and you have always
seemed to work just as hard as me to create a “family” For that, I am
eternally grateful. I pray that as we will soon navigate your potentially
rocky teenage years and as we face the unknown future, our bond continues to
grow and that you will remain confident in your place in this family.

Blended family life may not have been either of our dreams, but I think we
are pretty lucky to be stuck with each other. ❤

NinjaMom

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