I’ve figured something out about myself. I can’t love anyone halfway. I guess that’s what makes me such a lousy stepmom. It’s hard for me to step back and not take part in your life because I love you like my own. I know you aren’t my child; I know you have a mother and she loves you and you love her. I’m not trying to replace anyone or edge anyone out. But I love you with my whole heart. It’s impossible for me to love a child part-way.
Having the day care taught me this. Remember when little Mae burned her hands? Her mom called to tell me what happened and I couldn’t sit still—I had to do something to help. And when she came back to day care with her hands all bandaged and only one little thumb sticking out my heart just bled for her. I’m not her mom. But I love her. Just like I love you and just like I love all my biological children.
Love isn’t a part time thing for me. Once a child pulls me into their world, that’s it; I’m hooked. I think about the kids I babysat in my teens. I wonder about the kids I took care of in the church nursery over a decade ago. The human heart has an unrelenting love capacity with no boundaries. If we allow our hearts to love, then the love just grows and grows.
You have grown up right before my eyes. The last 13 years have flown by; I swear just days ago you were that 4 year old who captured me so completely.
I saw you first. I don’t know if you know that part of the story, but I saw you long before I saw your dad. I fell in love with the little girl skipping circles around her dad long before your dad told me his name. And I knew I wanted to marry him because of the way he treated you. I wanted that kind of love and devotion for my children someday, and I got it.
If only we could have lived forever in those first months I knew you. You accepted me and we had fun together. You have a capacity to love that is unparalleled. I know why it happened. The "honeymoon" had to end at some point. Then you started treating me like I had become something forbidden. Once, you called me late at night just to whisper “I love you” and hang up. I cried. Not for me, but for what you had to change to please the people you love.
I love you. No matter what.