Based on traditional standards, you’re not supposed to attend your parents’ wedding. But in less than a week, I will watch my father walk down the aisle. While I know that divorce and remarriage are not foreign concepts in this day and age, I never dreamed that one day I would wake up and they would be my reality. Life has a way of surprising you. Over the past two years, I have had every conceivable emotion about the day my dad would remarry, and even sitting here writing this, I probably still cannot adequately express the way I feel. Here is my best attempt.
To my (future) step-mom:
I never wanted you in my life. In fact, for years, I prayed for the opposite. Every night I begged God to keep my family together, as if words sobbed into a pillow could magically become the glue that kept my family whole. When that didn’t work, and my parents split, I prayed that they would each stay single. I couldn’t wrap my brain around the thought of my parents with anyone else. But here you are.
I would be lying if I told you that the moment you walked into our lives, I was happy. I’m pretty sure you quickly understood the day that I met you that was far from the truth. I felt heartbroken, betrayed, and emotionally drained. I know you could tell that I was less-than-pleased to meet you. Thank you for giving me a chance anyway.
I tried to hate you. I avoided making plans with my dad so I didn’t have to see the two of you together. I deliberately didn’t ask about you when my dad called. I didn’t attempt to build a relationship with you because I thought that somehow meant I cared less about my mom. Thank you for trying anyways.
As the months went by, I watched your relationship with my father grow stronger. I watched you make him smile bigger than I’d ever seen before. I saw the light in his eyes when he said your name. I realized that you were God’s plan for him all along. And I began to love you.
When you come from a “broken” family, it’s easy to make the story about loss. But if I tried to write that story, I wouldn’t have much to say. When I hear the two of you say “I do,” the tears that fall will not come from the same place in my heart as those two years ago. This time, I am no longer sad for the family I have lost, but overjoyed at the one I have gained.
It’s taken me nineteen years to figure out that your family is the people who love you. That is the only requirement. Not adoption documents, not names on birth certificates, not marriage licenses. Family is a lot less about law and a lot more about love. So thank you. Thank you for being there. Thank you for accepting me, shopping with me, crying with me, and keeping me as your own. Thank you for calling at two in the morning to make sure I made it home safely. Thank you for cooking me dinner when I come to visit. Thank you for filling such a unique place in my heart that no one else ever will. Thank you for loving my dad. And thank you for loving me.
— Your (almost) step-daughter