You came into my life when you were 6 years old and now you’re 21 years old. I remember when we first met, your Dad and I had been dating for 6 months and we decided that it was time for me to meet you and I remember feeling nervous and excited. Your Dad had shared so many stories about you and I felt as if I already knew you. I wasn’t sure if I should hug you or shake your hand, but when you arrived with your Dad I did both and I couldn’t stop staring at how unbelievably adorable you were with those big brown eyes and loving smile. You looked up at me, smiled really big and said, “Hi Miss Patty!”
I instantly fell in love with you. I couldn’t put my finger on why, but it was an instant feeling and I felt a connection with you. You stayed right by my side the entire weekend. I remember thinking that I wanted to be conscious and respectful of the relationship you had with your biological mom, and I made sure to not be a “mom” but instead a woman that loved your Dad very much and wanted you to know and feel that I would love you too if you let me. I wanted you to know that it was safe that you and I could be friends and that I wasn’t going to take your moms place, but that I would instead be a woman in your life that you could count on and have a very authentic friendship with.
During the first weekend of spending time together you quickly opened up to me, and I will never forget a powerful and memorable moment. We were at a thrift store sitting on the floor up against a wall waiting for your Dad and your brother while they tried on jeans, and we were laughing about something while we waited. You looked up and made direct eye contact with me and said, “Miss Patty, please promise me you won’t hurt my Daddy, make him cry, or take his money and run away. Will you promise me that?” I looked back at those big brown eyes, and I smiled at you and said, “I love your Dad very much and he means a lot to me. Yes, I promise that I won’t hurt him, make him cry, or take his money and run away.” You hugged me tight and then kissed my cheek and said, “Okay, thank you.” It was at that point that you completely allowed me into your life without any reservations, and I knew from the things that your Dad had shared with me about your life and the divorce, that you had major trust issues. I knew your heart was fragile and I knew you were taking a big leap of faith at 6 years old.
In 2004, your Dad and I married and you officially became my step-daughter. We had talked about whether or not we wanted to use step-daughter or daughter. We both understood that we weren’t genetically related, but that didn’t matter to us. You and I accepted each other as mother and daughter, and we didn’t like the word “step”. We both knew that I didn’t physically birth you, but we were spiritually connected and that meant more to us. I remember the first time you called me “Mom”. You had called me “Miss Patty” for so long and your Dad and I had told you and your brother that it was your choice to continue to call me by that name, or Mom. We wanted, for both of you, to feel comfortable and we were fine with whatever you wanted to call me. You immediately said that you wanted to call me “Mom”. When you said the actual words, we smiled at each other, and you looked at me and said, “Okay, MOM!” I teared up and we hugged each other. Your Dad smiled really big, looked at me and winked, and I know that it made his heart happy to hear that.
I’ll be honest, as amazing as that feeling was at that moment, I was filled with the feelings of being overwhelmed and freaked out. I was an instant “Mom” sans the birthing, diaper changing, sleepless night, etc. but none the less, an instant “Mom”. What does an instant Mom do? What does an instant Mom look like? Do I officially become a stay at home Mom? Do I need to trade all my trendy and vintage clothes in for workout clothes and have my hair up in a bun or ponytail? Did I need to make you lunches right away? Did I need to take a course on what to do and not to do? Did I have to become a homeroom Mom at your school? Did I need to enroll you into a dance class? Did I need to get us matching outfits? Oh my gosh, how would I teach you about periods, and bras, etc.? I was 21 when I met you, and at 24 became a mom! Oh my word … what have I gotten myself into?
Here’s what I did know. You trusted me with your whole heart and I loved you, so I would take a lot of what my Mom taught me, figure the rest out on my own and be the best mom I could be for you.
Legally you are considered my step-daughter, and me your step-mom, but we are in no way “step” to each other and never have been. I cannot imagine my life without you, and I have always claimed you as my daughter. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Thank you for trusting me. Thank you for giving me the gift of motherhood. Thank you for letting me figure out and venture through what a mom is, celebrating the wins and forgiving the failures. I love our years of inside jokes, I love that we were baptized together, I love the young woman you have become and are becoming, I love that you roll your eyes at me and think I’m crazy but ultimately wouldn’t have it any other way, I love that after 15 years of life together thus far that you are and will always be my daughter in my eyes, and I love that I get to be your mom! You are a blessing and even though you are 21 years old now, I still look over at you and see that 6 year old little girl who smiled really big and cheerfully said, “Hi Miss Patty!” I can’t help but tear up a little and thank God for orchestrating in only a way that He can this kind of relationship and give Him full praise for allowing me to be your Mom and giving you the strength to be brave and have faith at such a young age.
(By the way, I have made her Dad cry, but simply from laughter and sweet sentimental moments. I have also spent some money on heels that may have wanted to make her Dad want to run away and I have only hurt his competitive nature when I win boardgames against him.)
[box]This is part of our Strands of Love: A Mother’s Day Letter Series. Read more posts in this series…[/box]
The Vintage Pearl creates meaningful, personalized hand-stamped jewelry and keepsakes that are customized with names, initials, dates, or words of inspiration, perfect for moms. Visit us at ourEdmond location at Spring Creek Village on the NW corner of 15th and Bryant. Follow on Facebook,Instagram and Twitter!