Ralph and I never used the word ‘step’ in our family language. We were never step parents. Our children were never step children. The girls didn’t like how it felt when ‘step’ was used to describe our relationship to one another. We chose to be a family and love not in a ‘you have to love me because I’m your sister/mother/father way, but rather in a patient and discovering way.
Although we never referenced ‘step’,Ralph and I were still challenged with the truth that loving a step child is different from loving a birth child. There is no physical or emotional similarity or share ancestry with a stepchild. If a bond is to form, it has to be nurtured. To grow from an earned trust and then a mutual want to like one another.
On Friday, Sara spent the day helping me finish preparing for our party. A whole day of tiny intricate details that would have anybody trying to climb out a window to escape the intensity of a Christmas crazed hostess. Not Sara. She moved through the day with the ease and confidence that comes from a lifetime spent as one of my girls. When she was small, she loved nothing better than to wear her own apron and stand on a chair next to me in the kitchen. She would ask me a million questions about whatever I was doing and always wanted to help. It was where we learned about each other.
She no longer stands on a chair while she’s helping me and her apron hangs in her own kitchen but the magic of being together in my kitchen continues. Sharing a life of cherished memories transcends sharing genes. Somewhere along our journey, we fell in love. True ‘you are my daughter’ – boundless love…