This picture will forever be my all time favorite picture of Elyse. If she's not the prettiest little girl out there, I don't know who is :)
Last night I watched the clock at 10:00pm my time just so I could text Elyse because it would be midnight her time, her 11th birthday.
Being a step mom is pretty amazing. I think a lot of step moms take for granted how involved they get to be in their step children's lives. I would love to see Elyse on her birthday. I wish I could pick her up from school or drop her off in the mornings. I wish I could help her with her math homework when she doesn't understand. I wish I could nag her to read her non fiction literature that I know she hates reading it. I wish she could come hang with me when her mom is working. I would be happy with every other weekend like a lot of dads get. I would be happy with anything.
Elyse recently told me that before her dad and I were married she told her friend that she was getting a step mom and the girl replied "Aren't step mom's mean?" & Elyse told her "Not mine, mine's nice."
I'm glad Elyse has a good relationship with me. I may not always get to see her or talk to her but I make sure she knows I care about her. I make sure she knows I love her. I make sure she knows that she is my daughter. Elyse is a part of my husband. How could I not love something that my husband helped to create?
Being a step mom has it's challenges. There are no challenges when it comes to loving her. The challenges come from the distance. When I'm at home and I miss her, I can't walk into her room and hug her. Instead I walk into her empty room and miss her even more. I look at her pictures that are stored away on the computer and remember her visits and count down the days until I see her again.
We don't receive school newsletters or graded work. Instead I log onto her school website and check to see when track meets are. I receive report cards in the mail because her teachers are nice enough to print off an extra copy for the parents that live 3000 miles a way. I don't get to go to parent teacher conferences, instead I see the days marked as "no school" on her school's calendar because of them and wonder which day my daughters is scheduled for. I wonder what her teachers say about her. I order school pictures off of the websites and have to pay extra to have them shipped to my home.
Elyse had her first visit here with Tim & I in August 2008. She came and stayed in our tiny apartment on a blow up mattress next to our bed. A month later we moved into our home and I knew that I wanted one of the rooms to be for Elyse. It's not her fault that her parent's are not together so why should visiting her dad not feel like her home? We got her a bedroom set. Tim & I went to Target and picked out her bedding. We filled her closet with barbies and board games. Her robe hangs on the back of the bathroom door. Her mouth wash is sitting in the bathroom cupboard right next to her shampoo and conditioner. When she visits we buy her stick pretzels because they are her favorite.
After Ryan was born it was even more important for me that she feel included. Yes we had a new baby, but Elyse was still our baby too. The first time I left Ryan he was 3 days old and I took Elyse to an open gym class. I had an awful recovery from Ryan and could barely walk, but I wobbled around that gym place to watch Elyse run around on everything.
Two years ago on Mother's Day, Elyse sent me a pink mother's day card. I have read that card at least 30 times, probably more. I can even tell you where it's sitting right now. It's the little things in life that mean the most.
Even though I can't spend her birthday with her today ( or next year, or the year after that..) I want her to know that I think about her all the time. I've thought about her all day today as I bragged to everyone that my sweet little Elyse is 11!
I miss you so much baby girl. Happy Birthday :)