Neither of us planned this. I never asked for my family to fall apart and for my Dad to move out. I never asked for a new woman in his life, someone who made peanut-butter and jelly sandwiches differently, who doesn’t know I don’t like the door all the way closed at night and for a different woman too hug and kiss my father. I didn’t ask for this but this is my new life. You married my father and you’ve started a new family. Now there is a whole and complete family that lives at your house…I mean, our house. Is it still my house if I only live there four days a month? Because when you decided my room was going to be the baby AND my room it made me feel like you didn’t actually want me there anymore. Having a new baby sister was my birthday wish for the last 10 years come true. Except for the part about how she’s really my Dad’s daughter and I’m just the daughter that comes and visits a couple times a month, at least that’s how you make me feel. The names “Mom” and “Dad” are now both echoed through the house even though they aren’t said by me. When it was just my brother and I, it felt like you both couldn’t wait for us to come visit…you made us feel that your life must literally stop when we left to go back to Mom’s. But now when we leave, it feels like nobody notices we are gone…you have your family still intact even if we aren’t there. You called my sister an only child to that friend you saw at the grocery store. Do you not think of me as her sister? The truth is, you didn’t choose me but we now belong to each other. We are family. I may not have been the daughter you dreamed of and my face may remind you of a woman who shared a previous life with your husband, but I am my father’s daughter and that can’t be undone.
I know this isn’t what you would have chosen. I know your dream-man and your fairytale future didn’t include two children from another woman. I know you didn’t ask for frustrating schedules, weekends of driving, co-parenting with a woman you wish didn’t exist and knowing a piece of your husband’s heart is always missing when his children are away. I know you wanted your daughter’s birth to be the first time both you AND your husband experienced such a miracle. That you wanted her first step, her first words, her first everything to be his firsts as a father too, and not the third. But is it fair to resent a 10 year old girl? Is it fair to make her feel the underlying tension? Are you going to make her feel like a guest in your house for the rest of your life? Did she ask for this? No, I didn’t. I realize you didn’t, but please remember I didn’t either.
When you sent out the Christmas card of your daughter and didn’t include my brother and I, it hurt more than words can even say. You put her name, your name and my father’s. But what about us? Are we not part of the family too? Did you know how much it would hurt when you mailed it to us at our mother’s? How every time I looked at my sister’s precious smile it made a part of me ache and that ache hasn’t stopped. I used to save and collect the holiday cards. But I never could bring myself to hoard those ones.
Years and years have passed. We are both grown women now. Sometimes I can’t even imagine how you could have treated that sad little girl in such a way. I try so hard to put myself in your shoes. To think how I would feel if I were you. I get it. I really do. But can we put this to rest? I have children now and they love you as a grandmother. I make sure they know you are my bonus mom - the extra mom I was lucky to get in my life. Are they not your grandchildren? They love you without conditions, will you love them unconditionally too? Because I’m so afraid to open them up to that hurt, I never want them to feel like you don’t want them to belong to you.
The holidays bring us all together. Please hear me when I say, despite it all, all the hurt, I love you. We didn’t choose each other, but you are the icing on the cake of my life who gave me an amazing little sister and brings my father love and happiness. No matter what happens, I always try again to make you love me. I always will. I hope one day you will love me the way I have always hoped you would.
Happy 2018! For the first post of the year, The Family Community is sharing a great new resource that is about to come on the scene - with your help. Single parents, together parents, stepparents, grandparents, anyone who has young children at home. Sara Morris and her husband Sam have cofounded a company called PopChart.Family. Sara and Sam are about to kick off a KickStarter campaign tomorrow! To tell you all about it, here is their short video: