Divorce, as many of you can attest to, is a difficult time. Divorce where there are kids involved can be harder still, for all involved.
Sharing the care, emotionally and financially, of children comes with its own set of challenges, particularly when one or both parents move on and become involved with a new partner.
Candice Curry wrote this honest open-letter to her daughter’s step-mum Ashley Parish on Women of Worth late last year. The letter has since gone viral, and it is little wonder.
Take my advice, grab yourself a culpa and a BIG handful of tissues before you read the letter in question below.
To My Daughter’s Stepmom,
I never wanted you here. You simply were never part of the plan. Growing up and dreaming of my family I never included you. I didn’t want help from another woman to raise my child. The plan was for my family to include me, daddy and our children, not you. I doubt you ever wanted me in your life. I doubt you planned to mother a child that you didn’t give birth to. I can bet that your plan for your family included you, daddy and your children together, not me or my daughter. I can almost bet that when you dreamed of becoming a mother it would be the day you gave birth and not the day you married your husband. I’m pretty sure you never planned on me being here.
But God has plans that far exceed our own and when my little family dissolved to form two families I knew you would be coming.
In my mind you would be a terrible beast and my daughter would not want you to mother her at all, ever! I was hoping that you would be semi unattractive and prayed my daughter wouldn’t look up to you. Her daddy would know that he was settling for second best. Evil swirled in me because I never wanted to face the fact that another woman would mother my child in my absence.
Then you arrived.
When I first met you I’ll admit you weren’t what I had in mind and a twinge of jealousy shot through my body. You were supposed to be hideous, remember? But you weren’t, you were stunningly beautiful. You were supposed to be a mean old hag, remember? But you weren’t, you were a young, sweet woman.
My plans were foiled.
I realized by the look on your face that meeting me was just as hard as it was for me to meet you. My heart immediately softened. Dang your kind smile! I was planing on really hating you. Why are your ruining my plan?!
I wanted to resent you but you made it impossible and I quickly grew thankful for you.
You’ve accepted our daughter from the very start and have unconditionally loved both her and her daddy, that’s a true gift to all of us. You’ve included our daughter in everything you do and make her feel loved and accepted. You put her relationship with her daddy above yours and only a brave and courageous woman knows how to do that with such grace.
I knew when her daddy and I decided to divorce and live in separate homes there would be times when she would need me, her mommy, and I wouldn’t be there. I’m so thankful that you are there in my absence. I’m grateful that you have mercy on her teen years and never reject her. She needs a mommy at your house and you’ve done an amazing job being that for her.
You’ve respected my position as mom from the very start. I appreciate that you always check with me when you question if you are making the right decision with her. I know our situation is rare. It’s not often that a mom and stepmom text each other to remind each other that they love and respect each other. You are a gift.
Because of you and your courage to mother our daughter the way that you do, she will be a better woman. She will grow up with more love than I could have ever imagined. It wasn’t her choice to have divorced parents and even though I wouldn’t wish that on any child I am so thankful that she now has 4 parents who love and respect her and each other. She’s compassionate because of it and understands that a failure in one area can turn into a blessing in another.
I don’t see you as a fill in for when I’m not there. You are her mother when she’s with you and when she’s with me. She’s excited to call you and tell you her stories when she’s at my house and that makes my heart want to jump from my chest with joy. I fill with pride when you wrap your arms around me and squeeze for a genuine and loving hug each time we see each other.
I am extremely aware of what it looks like when a mother cannot emotionally accept her childs stepmother in their life. Gratefulness pours heavily from me that we are able to rise above anything like that and do what is truly right for our daughter. Thank you for being mature enough and respectful enough to co-parent with me.
I promise to always respect your input for our daughter. I promise to never lessen the position you hold in her life or make you feel like you are not her mother. I promise to raise her to be grateful to have two strong and brave women in her life that have the courage to mother her together. Even though our situation is peaceful I pray that she is never in it, but if she ever finds herself here I promise to set an example for her of what co-parenting should look like.
Precious woman, you are a rare and beautiful gem.
God bless you and I love you.
Your not done with those tears yet though. The step mum Ashley replies in the comments section to the letter:
“Candice, I don’t know what to say. I am not good with words like you are and the way you express yourself. All I can say is I am crying like at the end of The Notebook … you make me feel so special … Thank you for this letter. It made my day and I will keep it close to my heart always. Love you.”
You can read more of Curry’s candid and thought-provoking post on her blog – Candice Curry – Women with Worth