My ex-husband's daughter just had a baby girl. She sent pictures, so I made a couple of comments about who she looked like, then asked the new mommy how she's doing.
I got an answer right back, a good one. This stepdaughter was so bright, and had so many struggles; a child of divorce without any privileges; of deprivation and values I didn't approve of; of conflicts between me and that.
It is so hard to become part of a relationship that had ended before you knew it existed, but somehow, years later, I helped the girl and she's honored me ever since.
The new mommy answers, "It varies from time of day. Tired, overjoyed, frustrated, satisfied. Its a roller coaster. Just when I feel I'm starting to get the hang of something the game changes. It is very exhausting to try to always be two steps ahead.
I must say that the my mom and you made it look easy. I would have never guessed that neither one of you were given a manual at the start."
I broke into tears... 24 years just flowed, a river, a deluge, a perfect storm. I answered her immediately.
Oh, please, honey, I fell in love with you when you were four years old and got a beesting.
You'll always be in my heart - that's where the manual is hidden.
When you would be totally frustrated (long before your sisters were born) and would twirl to the ground in your cutest of dresses, well, what could we do but laugh... and forgive.
Yup... there's a lot of good stuff in getting older, but you have to start with that silly baby.
I will always be grateful to your dad for knowing how to wrap a baby snug in that tiny blanket so she doesn't cry.
I'm pretty sure he did that for you, and that is all you have to do for Ellie.
Hold her tight and EVERY DAY tell her she is loved, she is smart, she is strong, and she is beautiful.
Then she will ask you questions.
Then you listen.
Then you reflect to her what you know.
Then the love comes back to you in droves.
And that is what family is... being aware.
I love you to the moon and back, Alice. (look it up)Yup. I done good. Three perfect daughters, with good lives ahead of them, and now, the next generation come, with bells on..