My Favorite Role
Who here is a step-parent? Who here has a step-parent? What do you think about the whole process? Taking in somebody else’s child and treating them like your own isn’t a job that everyone can do. I don’t want to toot my own horn or anything but I think it takes a special person to do that. As a stepmom, I think I was one of the lucky ones. I think it is pretty common for step parents to put in a ton of the work and get none of the recognition for everything they do for that child. I never really felt that way, in fact I felt the opposite. I had some of Syd’s other side of the family telling me how much they appreciated the clear love and devotion I had for this child. I felt pretty respected as the “mom” in our house.
The one thing that does irritate me and hurt me are the comments from other people who don’t recognize me as a mother. I’ll get comments like “Oh, when you have a child of your own you’ll understand” or when talking about the loss of Sydnie people will say “Oh my, that must be so hard for your husband to lose his daughter.” It is something that I recognize I am very sensitive to but it does really get under my skin. What some people don’t seem to really get is I may not have given birth to my daughter, but she was the child that made me a mother. I would never try to replace or overstep her mother but that doesn’t mean that I too, wasn’t her mother.
That is why in all of my posts I refer to her as “my daughter” or “our daughter” because I hate saying “my step-daughter”, to me, it feels like by saying “step” that it is saying she meant less to me then our son, James. Like she wasn’t just as important to me.
I recognize that some families are not like that, in fact, I think our situation was pretty unique and special. If you talk to my extended family everyone will tell you that Syd was the missing piece to our family. Joining our family, it happened in an instant, we all knew she belonged as a part of our family, there was no question about it. Now, one thing you have to understand is; this kid, wow, I can’t even tell you all the ways that she was just a special person. She was kind and smart and quick witted. I LOVED getting to spend time with her. Before I really got to know her I was very nervous that we weren’t going to get along or that she was going to hate me and only see me as “dad’s new girlfriend”. I was very hesitant and started very slowly to get to know her, I didn’t want to over step. She knocked that wall down so fast. Before I knew it I was catching her mirroring little things that I would do or copying the style of both myself and my best friend, she was turning into a little mini-me (although she wasn’t that “mini”, it didn’t take long before she was taller than me!).
I loved the family time we spent, the three of us, it was really special to see my husband as a father and to see how much he adored this girl. What I loved more than the time we spent together was the car rides with just me and Syd. We spent a lot of time in the car, once Sheldon and I moved a little further south to where we live now, I did most of the pickups and drop offs. From the second we got in the car, before we would even be down the street, Syd would be telling me all about the boys she liked or the middle school drama before asking me “can I DJ?” It was our time to talk and sing horribly at the top of our lungs, just the two of us.
Her accident was shocking and devastating. To be quite honest, her accident is one of the things I don’t intend on talking about here on this blog. For two reasons; the first: it’s happened, I can’t change it, I would rather focus on the positive memories I did have with her. But secondly, I want to be respectful of the rest of her family. Sydnie’s accident is a part of all of our stories, not just mine, I wasn’t there when it happened so I will never fully know the truth of what happened that day. Instead, I will happily talk for hour and hours about all of these fabulous things that I did with her and share with you my own personal struggles I’ve faced since she has been gone, and as you already know from reading some earlier posts, there have been a lot of them.
Here, today, I would like to share one of my favorite and last memories I had with Syd. It was May 12th. I had picked up Syd to take her to my grandma’s house for a fitting for her bridesmaid dress, originally I had planned to take her back to her mom’s house that night, the next day was mother's day. Her mom suggested that I keep Syd over night, spend the morning with her and bring her back the following afternoon so I could also spend some time with her on Mother’s Day. I wasn’t going to say no to that! I was thrilled and surprised that her mom suggested and was willing to share mother’s day with me. That night at about 10 or so Syd tells me she is going to go to bed. When she went to bed she would usually stay up for a while longer reading playing on her phone, so it was not surprising to me when she got up about 30 minutes later. I was sitting at my desk doing some last minute wedding planning when I heard her bedroom door open. I thought she was going to come and get some water but instead she came running into the living room full of giggles and so excited to show me a new dance move, I think it’s called “The Floss”. Now, everytime I see it I smile and I think of Syd. I can still hear her laughing after she finished her dance number, I absolutely adored this goofy side of her. It was just a few moments of her dancing but I don’t think I will ever forget the smile on her face as she danced.
Being a stepmom has been my absolute favorite role. More so than being a daughter, friend and even wife (which I have to say, being married is pretty wonderful). Seeing the love my family and friends had for this amazing girl was absolutely heartwarming.
Since her accident I have been more thankful for one thing in particular, more than anything else and that is this: no matter how many children my husband and I have, Sydnie will always be my first child. Nothing and nobody can take that away from me.