Friday, March 1, 2013

the surprise of my life

To my youngest stepdaughter:

Over 6.5 years ago, on a cold October night, Daddy came to pick you and your big sister up for his weekly dinner. He rang the doorbell and greeted you with a hug and kiss, just like he always did. But something was different this time; a girl was with him. Even though he introduced me as "his friend, Ruby Red", I could see it in both of your eyes. You knew something was different when you looked at Daddy. He was happy. Truly happy. You looked up at me and smiled, and I almost melted into a puddle on the floor.

I'll never forget that dinner. We all laughed and laughed together like we had all known each other for years. You, little miss, even held my hand on the way out to the car without me even asking. When we dropped you off at home, you and your sister knitted your eyes together in worry and asked, "We're going to see you this weekend at Daddy's, aren't we?" At that second, you both burrowed yourselves into a little space in my heart. Today, my heart has grown 10x the size it was, and you two girls have most of that space all to yourselves.

I've always known that you love me and that you see me as something more than just a stepmom, but I've never known how deep it goes. We always exchange "I love you's" and hugs and kisses...but I sometimes wonder if you do those things because you feel you must? On Tuesday night, I got an answer.

Little miss, you came into the house this last Tuesday and smiled an older and wiser version of the same smile you gave me all those years ago. You held out a red piece of paper to me and said, "I made this for you today." When I opened it and began to read, I wasn't expecting much. You always make little cards for me that tell me you love me and you think I'm an awesome "cooker." As the words you had written connected in my brain, I didn't even try to stop the tears. This wasn't a moment for acting tough and being strong. It was a moment I wanted to be vulnerable, to let you see how much you had touched me with your words.

You will never truly understand what this little piece of paper means to me. It may have only taken you three minutes to make, but it will stay in my heart for a lifetime. 


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