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Anyone Can Be A Mother But It Takes Someone Special To be A Mom

Like Mother Like Step-Daughter

Anyone Can Be A Mother But It Takes Someone Special To be A Mom
Photo by Caroline Hernandez on Unsplash

After two prior abusive relationships, Sandra didn't know if she would ever find the love and happiness she longed for. She had been mentally abused for almost two years by the last man she had been engaged with, and the one prior to that was an eight year relationship with a man who had physically abused her more times than she could count.

But one day, fate intervened, placing Sandra in the right place at the right time. It wasn't "love at first sight" but Sandra knew she had found a lifelong friend. She wasn't looking for love this time, rather she was looking for someone she could trust, someone who would listen to her and offer a shoulder for her to lean on.

He was a brilliant man, one with great stature, and a very kind-hearted man. The night they had met, they had sat on his apartment steps for hours, just talking about their pasts, what they wanted to achieve in their future. The handsome gentleman never made an advance toward Sandra, and she thought this strange since every man she had ever met seemed to only want one particular thing from her, which was something she was no longer interested in.

He must've read her mind, because the entire night, he kept his distance, but listened intently to Sandra and even patted her on the back several times when it seemed she were about to cry. She was able to hold herself together that night, though, afraid to completely open up about how she had come to this point in her life.

She had been ready to end it all just a few days prior. She had begged God to give her a reason to live. She was tired of searching for her purpose. What use was it anyway? She had contemplated suicide many times before, but this time was more than just a thought. She had gone so far as to search for a handgun and bullets, thinking she could possibly steal one from a neighbor, and if she'd had the money to purchase a gun, she would have ended her life.

But the man she'd just met had given her a shred of hope. He seemed gentle, a man of good character, and he was a great listener, very easy to talk to. Sandra was almost glad she hadn't ended her life, but she still had reservations. It seemed too good to be true. She figured eventually he would hurt her, but she hoped he wouldn't, and prayed she had finally found a lifelong friend, someone who would just be there for her when she needed it most.

After six months of friendship with this man, she knew she had found her soulmate. Although afraid to admit her growing love for him, she reluctantly accepted his advances towards a relationship, because she knew deep down, regardless of whether the relationship worked out, he was a good man. She knew he would be there for her in times of trouble, and she needed a friend in her life anyway, a good friend who was worth keeping.

He had recently introduced his daughter to Sandra, and she was a beautiful little girl. She had just turned eight years old and had moved in with her father because her mother had undergone some financial hardship. The child was definitely a handful, but Sandra's new boyfriend seemed to handle fatherhood well, unlike many other fathers Sandra had encountered before.

She could tell he had his daughter's best interest in mind; he made sure to provide whatever she needed, but not just financially. He would wake her up in the early hours of the morning by tickling her and asking if she wanted breakfast; he wouldn't go to bed at night without telling her he loved her and tucking her in.

Unfortunately, though, he worked in the oil field, leaving for weeks at a time, but since Sandra had just moved in, he knew he could trust her with his daughter. He paid all the bills, and agreed to send money every week to make sure Sandra and his daughter were taken care of financially. During his time home, he spent much of his time outside barbecuing or building things for his daughter, or watching movies with his daughter and girlfriend on "family movie night".

Sandra could tell the eight-year-old had some resentment, though. She had learned that the child's mother had often given the little girl back to her father because of "financial difficulties" and apparently the little girl was old enough to recognize her mother's poor spending habits. Although the little girl was annoyed at being bounced between her mother and father, she resented Sandra, even claiming on a few occasions that she wished her mother and father would get back together, and stating that she hated Sandra.

Sandra, knowing how hard it must've been for the child, would just tell the young girl, "Well, I don't hate you," and the little girl would eventually come around, begging Sandra to fix her hair, or climbing in the bed with Sandra in the middle of the night because she was scared. Sandra would just pull the child close and ensure her that her father would be home in a few days and that everything would be okay.

Over the next few years, the young girl, now growing into her teenage years, had come to love Sandra. The girl had grown much respect for Sandra over the last several years. Seeking the child's approval for over four years, Sandra asked the little girl if she would be agreeable to her father and Sandra becoming wed. The little girl was elated, and was quick to agree to Sandra becoming her step-mother.

Soon the two were unified in marriage, and now, Sandra's husband decided to leave the oil field in order that he may be home more often with his wife and daughter. The teenager seemed happier than ever. Her mother would see her more often, and her father was now home at the end of every day. Sandra would spend a "girl's day" with the teenager on occasion, hoping to grow their bond each and every day. She had grown to love the little girl as her own, and would do anything to see the child happy and prosperous.

Sandra would bring the teenager to the store, offering to buy her candy or maybe a new shirt, purse or wallet. On one occasion, Sandra thought it would be a good idea to throw a party, for no reason other than to give the teenager a moment to remember. It was not a special occasion, but Sandra wanted her step-daughter to have an amazing childhood, one she would always tell people about.

Everytime Sandra would do something for the girl, the child would respond, "You didn't have to do that, Ms. Sandra," but Sandra just kept finding ways to show her love for her step-daughter. She would bring her to the park for lunch, or dress up just to go on "family photos shoots". Sandra wanted to capture all their good memories with photos.

They went to the zoo, visited a water park, and when they just didn't have the funds to go out, Sandra would find ways to spend quality time with her step-daughter, such as singing karaoke until midnight on a school night, or throwing a sleepover and inviting a few of the young girl's friends to attend, just so Sandra could crash the sleepover with pillow fights or by dumping water over her step-daughter's head and having to clean it up at 11:00 at night.

Often, during the sleepovers, Sandra would teach the girls something, like how to cook homemade donuts, so at 1:00 in the morning, her step-daughter and several friends would gather in the kitchen, either cooking or enjoying a late night snack.

On any given day, Sandra would surprise her step-daughter with a pair of new shoes or clothes, or sometimes with an electronic device or maybe even new perfume, each time her step-daughter declaring, "Thank you, but you didn't have to do that, Ms. Sandra."

The teenager was beginning to feel terrible and even told Sandra once, "I don't understand why you do all these things for me. You really don't have to do that," but Sandra knew the girl didn't understand, so she just continued to give whatever she could, hoping one day the child would grow to know exactly why she was doing these things.

Soon, the teenager was growing into a young woman, and Sandra just continued to watch as the days passed by. The child who she had raised for nine years was approaching graduation. Sandra would oftentimes lie in bed crying after her husband would fall asleep, wondering if she had been a good enough step-mother for the child. She hoped she had done enough, for the child would soon be an adult, living in a cruel world, and Sandra prayed the child wouldn't endure the same struggles she had been faced with early on in her adult years.

After graduation, the young woman had finally met a guy. He was accepted by Sandra and her husband immediately. He was gentle, much like Sandra's husband, and the look in his eyes when he looked at Sandra's step-daughter was genuine. He made the young girl happy, happier than they had ever seen her before. It was no surprise, when the young man had asked her father for her hand in marriage, that Sandra's husband agreed, declaring that if he ever hurt his daughter, they would have problems.

Soon, the wedding approached. It was unbearable for Sandra to think of the child she had once known now spreading her wings and becoming a woman. She had watched this little girl blossom into something so beautiful, she would have never imagined being in the presence of such an amazing human being, and Sandra was proud to have been a part of it all.

Sandra spent the next few weeks working harder than she ever had before to come up with enough money to pay for the entire wedding and to send the two love birds on a grand honeymoon. She had managed to save enough money over the years and in the last couple of weeks to create a wedding fit for television.

Sandra arrived early to start preparing the church for the wedding and reception. With each task Sandra finished, she had to sit and cry. She knew her step-daughter was ready to spread her wings, but Sandra kept thinking back on the young girl's childhood, hoping she had taught her everything she needed to know, hoping that everything she had given was enough, and begging God to give her step-daughter a wonderful life, unlike the life Sandra had lived.

The wedding was at 5:00 that evening, and by 2:00, Sandra had finally finished all of the decorations. It probably wouldn't have taken her as long if she had been more prepared for the emotions she would feel on that particular day. Sandra finally decided to put on her wedding attire and freshen up, so she would at least look suitable when the guests began to arrive.

Her step-daughter arrived earlier than everyone else, and the two sat in a room away from the guests that would be arriving soon. Sandra didn't know why she even agreed to do her step-daughter's makeup; the young woman was already beautiful and didn't require makeup, but she proceeded to fix her step-daughter's hair and apply the makeup her step-daughter had chosen for the wedding.

It was a beautiful wedding. Sandra cried from the moment her step-daughter entered the ceremony room until the moment her step-daughter and son-in-law departed the room. It was bitter sweet, and a moment Sandra was not prepared for, so it took her a few minutes to prepare and head toward the reception area.

Once in the reception area, the speeches had begun. Sandra knew she had to speak last, for she knew the entire room would be in tears after her speech. Each person told stories from her step-daughter's childhood, and even some telling of recent events and accomplishments occuring in her step-daughter's life. Then, her step-daughter stood and made her way to the podium.

"You know, someone asked me this morning who I looked up to the most. After giving it some thought, I said my step-mother. She has been in my life for over 10 years now, making sure I had everything I needed and even things I wanted that I really didn't need."

Some people in the audience grinned at this, knowing Sandra's kind-hearted nature.

"I would always tell her she didn't have to do that, because really, she didn't. She didn't have to love me, she chose to love me. She didn't have to buy anything for me because I have a mom and a dad who gave me the physical things I needed, but she bought me things anyway. I look up to her because no matter what, she always tried to make sure I was happy. I am so blessed to have Ms. Sandra in my life, and I hope to be just like her."

Many people in the gathering put their heads down, some wiping their eyes, and others were crying loud enough to hear their sniffles. Sandra stood and made her way to the podium, knowing she was the last to speak. She hugged her step-daughter for longer than she had expected, having a hard time letting go of the young girl. Her step-daughter walked toward her seat as Sandra waited to speak.

After a minute or so of silence, Sandra began. "I didn't really plan on what to say, but I think my step-daughter said it probably better than I could. The person I look up to the most is her. She has been in my life for over 10 years now, making sure I had everything that I needed. What she doesn't know is, she kept me alive all these years."

A few people in the room began crying harder now. "One night, she must've heard me crying, and she came into my bedroom claiming she was scared, but the truth is, I know she actually came in my room because she knew my heart ached. Another time, I was on the back steps crying, and she tried to come outside. I told her I was on the phone, and she quickly went back inside. I know she sat at the back door listening to me cry, because when I went back inside, she gave me a big hug and told me she loved me. She always knows when I need her love the most."

Sandra paused momentarily and continued, "She would always tell me I didn't have to do things for her, but in actuality, she didn't have to love me. She chose to love me, and I look up to her because no matter what, she always tried to make sure I was happy." A tear rolled down Sandra's face as she glared at her step-daughter.

"For the past few weeks, I have struggled, wondering if I have given you enough tools and knowledge to make it on your own, but then I realized this morning, you have taught me more than I could ever teach you. You have taught me patience and goodness, kindness and forgiveness, but most of all, you have taught me how to love again. You were a blessing to me and one day, I hope to be just like you."

Adrienne Huggins
Adrienne Huggins
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