Valentine for Athena

Fourteen years ago today, a beautiful girl was born who would change my life forever.

DSC06346She was born to a mother and father who both loved her very much, but eventually fell out of love with each other.  This wound up being my lucky break because, not only did I get to be with the man of my dreams, but I got to have his amazing daughter enter my life.

I first met Athena in March of 2006.  Craig and I had reconnected and I had come out to California (from Chicago) to visit him.  He had his daughter that same weekend, but wanted me to come anyway, because he wanted to see how she and I would interact.  We got along well enough that she gave me one of her favorite rings at the end of the weekend.  When we met again three years later, she barely remembered me.  Having been only six years old the first time, I wasn’t too surprised.  But soon, we were getting along very well.

When Craig proposed, I knew that meant I would become Athena’s stepmother.  And even though I had decided at 30 that I didn’t want kids of my own, I’d grown to love her enough that I was more than happy to take on that role.  It’s had the regular challenges and joys that come with being a parent, but the good has definitely outweighed the bad.

I’ve worried over the years that there will be the “typical” stepmother anger from her to me, but I’ve yet to experience it.  She and I have grown into friends, while still maintaining the respectful relationship that a parent has with a young person.  She’s even accidentally called me “Mom” a couple of times, and I’ve cherished each time that title slips out of her mouth, without drawing too much attention to it.

The first time I really felt like a mom (and not a babysitter) was one day when we were out riding our bikes.  We were tooling around a nearby parking lot, and Athena had gone a little ahead of Craig and me.  She wasn’t paying too much attention, and I noticed a truck barreling through the lot, headed her way.  My heart stopped and I screamed out her name, hoping that she would stop in time.  Thankfully she did, but my heart raced for several minutes afterward, and I realized then that this would be part of my life: constantly worrying about her well-being (emotionally and physically).  I’ve good-naturedly cursed Craig and thanked him for bringing these kinds of experiences into my life.  🙂

Christmas 2013 - 040Athena is bright, fun-loving and wise and mature beyond her years; how could she be otherwise, being named after the Greek goddess of wisdom?  She loves to write, is a HUGE fan of Dr. Who, and loves to sing (especially songs she’s made up herself).  Now that she’s a teenager, she’s starting to come more into her own, and I can see the struggle that is for her.  But she’s handling it as well as one could hope for, and I have every confidence she’ll grow into a strong, independent woman, worthy of her name.

She’s even begun to confide in me some of her thoughts and struggles, often pulling me aside for a little “girl time.”  I’m cherishing each of these moments, too, and doing my best to truly listen to what she has to say, and not push my own opinions on her.  She’s old enough to make many decisions for herself, and she’s proven herself to be very capable of making the “right” ones.  I’ve told her often how proud of her I am, and I mean it.

So I’m dedicating today’s blog to the beautiful, wonderful girl I get to call my step-daughter.  Happy Birthday, Athena!  You’ve made my life SO much richer for being in it.  I love you more than you could possibly know, but I’ll keep showing you in ways neither of us can yet fathom.  You’re your daddy’s Valentine first and foremost, but you’re also mine, sweet girl.

I love you.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kathy
    Feb 19, 2014 @ 02:24:46

    Beautiful words!!!!


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