Friday, January 07, 2011

The Best (step)Daughter

I hear giggles and laughter, lots of questions and patient answers  My heart lifts and I smile.  I am truly blessed.  The patient voice belongs to my wonderful 16 year old (step)daughter.
Kay has been in my life since she was 6 and she is very much my first child, even if I only have the honor of her company every other weekend.  She is sweet and fun loving.  She is quick witted and good at making people laugh.  She has many of the qualities that first attracted me to my husband.  And to top it off, she is the best big sister.  We don't, and will never, use the label half siblings/half brother/half sister.  No way, no how. They are siblings, sisters and brother and they act exactly that way.  They love, laugh and argue as siblings do.  There is no hesitation or limit on their love and for that I feel blessed and thankful.  It means that we have a true family that is not going through the motions of acting like one and that Kay does not feel like an outsider looking in.  I hear that many children who's parents have remarried and have had other children feel this way.
Kay makes me feel like a (second) mother to her.  I feel honored and privileged.  I still remember the first time I met her.  It was spring time and we drove 6 hours from where we were living at the time to spend the weekend together.  We met her mom in the parking lot of Burger King for the swap.  It was all very cordial and I was nervous as hell, to be quite honest. We went out roller skating and ate dinner before settling down for the night at a local hotel.  We had gotten 2 queen beds. Kay and I were to each have a bed and hubby was going to take the floor so she wouldn't be uncomfortable.  She said, "It's okay daddy.  I don't mind sharing a bed with Bee."  My heart melted and my nerves disappeared.  My biggest dream was that we would connect.  I couldn't imagine marrying her daddy if we didn't.  I didn't feel it would be fair to any of us.  With those simple words, I knew we all had a bright future together.
Her mom gave me the greatest gift a fellow mom could give.  She gave me her support.  She told Kay from the beginning that she was to listen and respect me as if I were her (mom).  Looking back, now that I have kids of my own, I am amazed and humbled by her words.  She called me and told me this herself one day so I knew where she felt I stood in her daughter's life.  I've always felt touched and honored.  I am also grateful because it helped solidify the foundation of mine and Kay's relationship.  I can honestly say, I don't know if I could ever tell my children what she told Kay.  Just this summer Kay and I sat outside late one night chatting on the back deck.  We talked about boys and troubled friendships and she sought my advice.  She told me she appreciates my advice, feedback and opinions.  I feel so honored.  Not many teens will say that to an adult, let alone a stepparent. I am proud that she can talk to both me and her mom.  We give her support in different areas of her life.  It's like we balance each other out. 
As a sister she is always one to get down on the floor and play.  She'll play dolls, pet shops, Wii, cars and board games.  She'll hang out and watch movies with them.  So far today she has watched Despicable Me twice and America's Funniest Home Videos.  When they were babies she helped feed them, dress them and change their stinky diapers. All this because she wants to be involved and enjoys being an older sister.  Not because it's expected of her. She is a treasure even when the kids are arguing and vying for her attention.  Because of them, she has told me she will wait to have sex.  They are great birth control, especially when my DD cried constantly the first year of her life or when they fight like siblings often do.  She knows that she is not ready to be a mother.  She understands that having a child is a lifetime commitment.
I am truly best to have such a wonderful (step)daughter. She is not perfect.  She's a teenager.  Sometimes she's selfish and puts friends before family.  She struggles in school and sometimes does not make the best choices in friends.  She's human and that's what  I love about her.  I am going to tell her that, once the kids go to bed for the night and we have our time where we just chill and relax together.  And my hubby wonders why I get sad when she can't be here or has to cancel because something comes up.  She's my daughter.  In every sense of the word. 
I love you Kay, you are my first child.  Always...

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