To my stepdaughter:
It's just a month a way from your fifteenth birthday! I can hardly believe
it, we've known each other for six years already---five years as your stepdad.
We've had something in common: you never had a father figure for the first
ten years of your life, and my experience with raising children was limited
to Father Knows Best reruns.
The first two years were the toughest. How hard was it to share your Mom
when you never had to before? "I hate you and I'll always hate you," (uttered
in the quietest, steely-eyed Clint Eastwood delivery) made me shrink inside, yet
somehow I never gave up. With the help of your mom and all the patience I
could muster you gradually began to trust me.
Together we began to find out about the biological father you never knew, who
never even sent you a bithday card. You met siblings you had never known and
even travelled to another state to be a bridesmaid for a half sister you had known
for only a few months. You cried when you learned about the suicide of your
father...you had long dreamed of someday meeting him and establishing a
connection. Now it would never be possible.
When you first said "I love you", I felt like I had won the Tour de Gruene: and
you well know what that means. I'm not sure why fate brought me into your
life but I do know I'm the luckiest stepdad in Texas.
Whatever happens in our future you know I'll always be there for you---even if
it's only changing the tire on you '98 Nissan.
I’m not familiar precisely with exactly what I said, but I stand by what I said whatever it was.