To my step-son, It’s back to school time, usually the best time of year for many parents but this year it comes with mixed emotions for me. As a step-mom it’s not always easy to express my feelings at the best of times so when big life changes happen it’s harder to find the right way to say something so I am choosing to write you this letter.
“It’s a strange feeling how this day creeps in and we will never really know the impact it will have until you’re gone. There are parts of me that feel joy, joy that you are growing up and experiencing new things, joy that a routine starts again, joy that I don’t have to deal with your teenage angst and attitude (still love you), joy that my grocery bill will go down, joy that this is a new chapter for you and everyone in the family. There are parts of me that feel loss and sadness as well, sad that our family dynamic changes, sad that your funny self won’t be around, sad that there won’t be a house full of friends anymore, sad that I’m losing a member of my team; you understood and were empathetic to my position as a step-mom just as much as you fought that role. It’s funny to say this now but I never envisioned you in my life. There was a time I didn’t even know you existed. For a long time I was nervous to be around you, getting to know you and hoping you would accept me. The day we met, 10 years ago, was the day you put my worries at ease. You came with your little joyful face and we played and laughed from the beginning. Thank you for connecting with me from the beginning and shooting that elastic at me. Over the years of watching you grow and doing my part to help raise you has been a pleasure I never really thought I would have. We have had our challenges along the way, our fights, disagreements and disappointments but we have had so many more laughs, jokes, heartfelt talks, understandings and happy times. I have seen you grow and go through many phases of life and witnessed many firsts with you. Your acceptance of me over the last 10 years has made me feel included and made me feel like a parent. As a step-parent this is something I could have only hoped for but you made it a reality. You made it so that I had the full experience of watching and being involved in your growth and life. There are not enough words to describe how much that means to me and how grateful I am to you for that.
As you are now leaving our home and going out there to find your own life and build your own future I know you will do it with love, compassion, joy and laughter because that is how you brought me into your life and I know you will bring others in the same way. Your empathy and compassion for people are true gifts to the world, I hope you carry it with you always. There will be times that life will get really hard, even dark, and times that you want to quit and forget about it all, but use your laughter during those times because laughter is a light that lifts your spirit and carries you through the dark times. That is a gift.
You will be missed everyday, and will forever be in my heart as my step-son, the kid who took me in and created laughter, madness, weird new words and sayings and who also brought kindness and caring in our home and was my partner in crime when we needed solidarity. I am a phone call or rather text away (for your generation) and can’t wait to hear from you with all of your new stories of the life you are creating for yourself and I can give you all the juicy details of what is going on here at home. Thank you for giving me the privilege of having children and a family that I never thought I’d have. Through all of our ups and downs I am grateful I get to call you my family. Go with peace and love.”
Love your step-mom, Leah.