A Letter to My Stepdaughter

Dear beautiful child,

I want you to know that I didn’t always think it would work out, 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 I failed miserably. There were times I was resentful and I took it out on you. But then we would have these tiny moments of awesomeness. Tiny wonderful moments that made it all worth the stress and sleepless nights. You ARE worth every second of my own struggle as a stepmom. It wasn’t you who needed to change. It wasn’t you that made me angry. It was me. It was my own proud, selfish anger that created distance and tension. You did nothing wrong. Let me repeat that. You did nothing wrong. I never ever meant to make you feel like you were the problem. I hope you can truly understand this one day.

I want you to understand that being a stepmom is both a privilege but also very complicated. There is no manual for it, and we stepmoms tend to learn as we go. No step family is exactly the same. But being your stepmom has been rewarding beyond measure. You have taught me things like compassion, sensitivity, and patience. Being a stepmom has afforded me so many opportunities to learn and to “step up.” Sometimes I did. And it felt awesome to be able to be there for you. Other times I didn’t step up, and I wished that I had. Most of the time I’m learning how to be your stepmom as I go. For awhile I chose to hang back and let your dad do most of the parenting because I didn’t know what I 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. Yes. I do. Without conditions. You’re in my heart just as though 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 and opinions and perspectives of the world. And I hope that you embrace those things that make you special wholeheartedly. I hope you take your unique family situation and can create an awesome story from it. Your story. Who you are. You aren’t your mother, your father, your stepdad or me. You aren’t 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 you are loved. And I want you to know how much you’ve changed me and my heart as a woman and as a mother. You are helping us raise our son (your brother) in a home that is full of joy. Your goodness grows and teaches him goodness. Your love and kindness teaches him love and kindness. You might not know it, but he looks up to you.

I know you have lots of people to talk to about things, about life. And I may or may not be on your top list of those people. But please 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 please know that I am here for you if you ever need me to be.

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