She wasn’t there the day my oldest daughter was born. In fact, I didn’t know she existed. And when I held that sweet baby in my arms, I prayed for the future. I can’t remember my prayer, because I didn’t know Jesus then, but I know that I didn’t pray for her.
I met her at a McDonald’s one cold day after work, four years later. She was so nice, and she was different than I had pictured her. She was calm, and her words were deliberate. She was an open book to a nervous mom, and I left that meeting with a peace I hadn’t had in a long time. I liked her from that first day, but I had no idea the role she would play in my life.
Over the next few years, I would realize how impossibly different we were. She is calm and rational, organized and deliberate, quiet but fierce. In fact, we may have only one thing in common – an incredible love for that now blonde haired, blue eyed girl. While mine may be biological, I cannot recall a single time where I doubted that the love she felt for that child was less than the love I felt.
My shortfalls, be but many, stop where she begins. She fills in all the spots where I fall short; her strengths are my weaknesses. And at some point, God gave me the ability to see what a powerful and beautiful team that we are to the daughter we now share. How much He must love me that He gave me someone to share that with. How gracious He is to not only forgive me, but to bless both me and this child with a strong woman to love her as I do.
Last January, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, it felt as though our lives had screeched to a halt. I suddenly felt a fear I had never felt before, and certainly never thought I would feel that day long ago ― fear of how I could even raise this child without her stepmother. Fear of what our lives would look like if something catastrophic were to happen. Fear of the gaping hole that would be left in our lives if this were to turn out badly.
Today, we celebrate her being cancer free for one year, thankful to a merciful God who gave her the strength to fight. Andrea, we love you so much. This life may not look like how we pictured it growing up, but I cannot imagine raising this sweet girl with any woman other than you.
So, while I didn’t see her that day in the hospital, God knew that she would be there soon. I’m glad His plans don’t depend on my agreement or my willingness. As much as I love her now, I’m not sure the scared 23-year-old me that had just had my first child would have wanted to hear that one day I would share her with another woman. The word ‘stepmother’ is so insufficient for what she is to my daughter.
To our daughter.