A letter to my stepdaughter

Dear beautiful boy,

I want you to know that I didn’t always think it would work, you and me and your father. I didn’t always trust and have faith that I could be the person you and he needed me to be. There were days when I failed miserably. There were times when I was resentful and took it out on you. But then we’d have these little moments of awesomeness. Little wonderful moments that made the stress and sleepless nights worth it. You ARE worth every second of my own struggle as a stepmother. It wasn’t you who needed to change. It wasn’t you who made me angry. It was me. It was my own proud and selfish anger that created distance and tension. You didn’t do anything wrong. Let me repeat that. You didn’t do anything wrong. I never meant to make you feel like you were the problem. I hope you can really understand this one day.

I want you to understand that being a stepmother is a privilege but also very complicated. There is no manual for it, and stepmoms tend to learn as we go. No adoptive family is exactly the same. But being your stepmother has been rewarding beyond measure. You have taught me things like compassion, sensitivity and patience. Being a stepmom has provided me with many opportunities to learn and “step up.” Sometimes I did. And it felt amazing to be able to be there for you. Other times I didn’t step forward, and I wish I had. Most of the time I learn to be your stepmom on the fly. For a while, I opted to stay back and let your father do most of the parenting because he didn’t know what he was supposed to do. I still don’t sometimes. But one thing I do know for sure is that I love you and who you are growing up to be. If I do. Without conditions. You are in my heart as if you were my own daughter.

And now you’re getting older. I have watched you grow into this beautiful, kind, creative person with your own ideas, opinions, and perspectives on the world. And I hope you accept those things that make you special wholeheartedly. I hope he takes his unique family situation and can create an amazing story out of it. Your history. Who are you. You are not your mother, your father, your stepfather or me. You are not your cousins, your neighbors, your classmates. You are you. And who you are is so perfectly wonderful.

My wish for you is that you know how much they love you. And I want you to know how much you have changed me and my heart as a woman and as a mother. You are helping us to raise our son (your brother) in a home full of joy. His kindness grows and teaches her kindness. Your love and kindness teach him love and kindness. You may not know it, but he looks up to you.

I know you have many people to talk about things, about life. And I may or may not be on your main list of those people. But let me share something with you that I want you to take with you wherever you go: be brave with your life. Be smart with your choices. Share your gifts and your joy with the world. You are too valuable, too special not to. And know that I am here for you if you ever need me to be.

always love,

your stepmother

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