My Mother’s Day started off in the most achingly beautiful way with a text message from my oldest step-daughter, Kayla. She sent me “Happy mother’s day. I love and appreciate you for everything I hope your sunday is awesome!!”
As I read the message over and over, I was transported back to what it felt like to hold her as she dozed off, still only three or four years old. I actually don’t remember how old my girls were when we first met. I just remember being so impressed with, and terrified of, these little tiny people.
My stepdaughters were my gateway drug into the world of motherhood. I wanted so badly for them to have a good life, and I wanted to be a part of making that happen, but I didn’t know what that would look like or who I would be for them. I just believed that kids deserve the best that life had to offer, and I was determined that they would never have cause to resent me (even though I knew that they might anyway).
Today, my relationship with Kayla, Anysa, and their mom is something that brings me a lot of joy and pride. They text me regularly, call me about as frequently as any teenager calls a parent (read: when they want something), and share theories with us on Game of Thrones. I love the extended family that we’ve built, and going to visit them is always a fun endeavor.
I’m on two different ends of this crazy parenting thing. On one hand, I have a toddler/little girl (still refusing to acknowledge how big she is) and a baby on the way. On the other hand, I have two gorgeous young women with young-women-problems, and most days I don’t feel like I’ve gotten the hang of this young woman thing myself (I’m also refusing to acknowledge how big I am). When I see how much they’ve grown, and how fast, I’m reminded to take my time and enjoy the moments with the little two, because there’s no denying how big my teens are.
As they reach sixteen, eighteen and beyond, I am proud of who they have become, excited to see where they are going, and honored to have a teeny-tiny bit to have had anything to do with it. I can’t wait to see what’s next for them as we all enter the next stage of our lives. One day, they’ll become parents too–and I hope to be invited to be part of their children’s lives as well. They didn’t get to choose me, but they chose me anyway, and I’ll always be grateful to them for showing me what it takes to build a family.