To The Girl, on her 16th birthday:
I have had the privilege of knowing you for nearly a decade. I’ve watched you grow from the precocious, and talkative, 5 year old who made me read Elmo backwards and forwards… to the confident and beautiful young woman I greet each day.
It’s not easy being a child of divorce. I know you secretly longed for your parents to be together, but at the same time you knew the reality was far different than your fantasies. Children should be able to believe their fantasies might come true for a lot longer than you were allowed.
You longed for a home with a mom and a dad, yet you welcomed me into your life and your family. I was so proud the day you let me braid your hair, awed the day you told me you loved me and overjoyed to watch you stuff yourself with cake and dance with abandon at my wedding.
If you look closely at the wedding pictures you’ll notice there is only one picture of just your dad and me on our wedding day… and that one the photographer snuck past me. It was important to me that all wedding pictures included you because I wasn’t just marrying your dad, I was marrying your family.
I have been privileged to be a member of that family… to watch you grow and to be a part of that development. I watch the confident young woman you have become, usually when you’re not looking, and I am in awe. Where did this amazing girl come from?
When you moved in with us two years ago, I was terrified… and elated. We’ve had our moments but having you here as completed this family in a way I didn’t even know it needed.
Girl… I am so proud of you. I am so proud of being a part of your life and proud of, perhaps, taking just a small amount of credit for this incredible young woman who calls my house home.
Happy birthday, my love. I am privileged to know you and to be able to call you my Girl. I look forward to watching this brave and beautiful girl I love grow into the confident and compassionate woman I know she will be.
I love you.
The (not-so) Wicked Step-Mom.