Not surprisingly, I am always interested in stepfamily stories. I find them interesting and often revealing as to how stepparents relationship evolve with their stepchildren. In a recent conversation with a family friend I was so intrigued by her stepdaughter story that I asked her if she might consider sharing with others. I am delighted that she agreed to do so and now pleased to share that story;
I want to tell you about my life with my stepdaughter. What started as a tumultuous encounter evolved with time and patience to a wonderful close relationship of respect and love. Can you imagine a 16-year-old girl arriving on your doorstep with her luggage when in fact you were expecting her brother instead? Her mother threw her out of the house for being unruly and disrespectful towards her. So, this headstrong teenage girl came to live with her dad and me.
Let me back up for a minute. I met Daniela’s father a couple of years after his divorce. He did not share with his kids the fact we were in a relationship. We had just moved in together after finding out I was expecting twins. Another fact he did not share with them. Daniela was her Dad’s princess. She was used to having her way and her father always backed her up. After a couple of weeks went by and I became fed up with the scullery maid role, catering to Daniela and her friends who slept over a lot, I mentioned to her Dad that I wanted help around the house. He suggested I make a “list” of my expectations. Daniela took offence to the “list” and refused to budge and set out to make things more difficult for me with her attitude. Despite the grievances there was a bit of hope. She loved my food. Shortly thereafter I ended up on bed rest at the hospital. Daniela thought I finally left, and she was rid of me. Her Dad again failed to clarify things. Instead, when my twins were born, he brought Daniela to meet them. She was shocked, and now there were more children to share her father. When she came into my room her words were “I do not babysit”!!!
Luckily for both of us she had a busy life with her school, soccer, part time work and friends, that gave us some space from each other. I watched Daniela grow in maturity, as I witnessed her graduation, her soccer career, her dates, her dedication to work. I encouraged her to enter the Western Miss Italia pageant which she won. She understood I believed in her. It was a turning point in our relationship.
Another important pivotal situation arose when she discovered she was pregnant. I was honoured that she came to me first to voice her concerns. I told her the choice is hers to make. Thankfully I had the wisdom to comfort and reassure her. Somehow, I felt everything would work itself out. Once she became a mother, she was able to understand me better. She apologized for being such a" bitch to me" all those years. As time went on, I realized I needed to change. I began to take classes in self-development and meditation. I became more content peaceful and happy. One day Daniela noticed the change in me and commented “I do not know what you are doing however I want to do it too.” That’s when she joined me and took classes of self-development and meditation as well. Daniela’s mom was always in the background of our lives. In the first few years our paths did not cross much, however that changed when she joined us too in this path of self-development. That brought all three of us women closer. About this time, I left Daniela’s father, and moved away with my daughter. Shortly thereafter Daniela joined us with her young son.
Today she is living outside the country pursuing her dreams doing work in humanities. We keep in touch weekly through zoom calls.
I’m proud of Daniela. I watched her become a strong capable woman, a mother, and a good sister to my children. I am also proud of myself for wanting to be a good stepmom and not giving up on her. When I think of how hard we struggled in the past it brings tears to my eyes. I’m so glad we persevered and grew into wonderful friends. I’m grateful to be part of her life.
In speaking with our friend, I asked what her message would be to other stepmoms and she replied in her gentle way “to please hang in there and give these relationships a chance. It is never clear how it might end up but very much worth the effort”
I know our friend is now rewarded with a lovely and close relationship with her stepdaughter. So, to those who are facing challenges we hope this story might inspire you.
Blythe and our family friend