Thank you for asking to meet me that day in December of 2010. I don't know if you could tell, but I was beyond nervous. My heart was pounding and my stomach turned on the entire drive to your house. As Jake took the exit, I began to shake. I knew my neck had to be red and splotchy, because this was a nervous I had never felt before. This feeling made meeting his family like a walk in the park! I wanted so badly for you to like me, but even more so, I desperately wanted you to feel my genuine care and love for your daughter. After all, I was now about to be a much bigger part of her life. I had no idea how you would respond and when Jake knocked on that door it felt like an eternity before you answered.
That day feels like yesterday and a million years ago in the same breath. We went from meeting, to friends, to actually hanging out, to an awful falling out, to speaking again, to back to friends, and now to a place I don't think either of us ever imagined possible. To family. It hasn't been easy, in fact, it's been really REALLY hard, but every second has been worth it.
Thank you for trusting me, for forgiving me time and time again, for encouraging me to have this relationship with Kailee and for being my friend. I don't know how you were able to open up your heart to me, but it's something I'll forever be thankful for. Had you decided to keep me at a distance, would we know what this kind of happy feels like? Would we be able to share birthdays, Halloweens and vacations together? Would we be able to go to Parent Teacher Conferences as a group of 4 and then dinner after? Would we share a condo in St George for dance competitions? I don't think so. All because you decided to open up you heart in the most vulnerable way, letting me love your child. I will forever be grateful to you for that. It was about more than 'liking me', it was allowing me to love your daughter. I can't imagine how hard that must have been, especially at first. I'm not sure I could do it.
I promise to you a lot of things, and some of them I promised to you at our first sit down at McDonalds in Draper 6 years ago. That I would always respect your place as her mom. That I would never try to replace you, or challenge your role in her life. I still feel that way, with every inch of my soul, but that doesn't mean I haven't screwed up along the way. That doesn't mean at times you haven't felt like I may have overstepped in a way or two, in fact, I know I have. I know you've been hurt by me and that sometimes we still get our feelings hurt, either by something we've said or by something Kailee says. I think there are many more 'hurts' to come, but I also know that because of the foundation we've built on communication and friendship, we'll be able to get through them all and remain friends.
There are a few things I was pretty ignorant to when this all started. I can't ever justify it, but at the time all I knew was splitting time with Kailee. Somehow in my selfish way of thinking, I didn't realize or comprehend that there was a time for you that life wasn't that way. That you never had to share her. She was never anywhere else on her birthday, or Christmas, or any other day. She was your baby and you never thought twice about every other weekend, let alone some strange woman coming in and helping to raise her when she wasn't with you. For that, I am deeply sorry. I get it now. You didn't want this life, it was just how it ended up.
I also never imagined my life to be this way. I never thought I'd get married and instantly have a family. I never pictured my life to be split among so many families. I never expected to be second to anything, and I was. I was second to Jake when we dated as Kailee was his priority (and should have been!). I was his second fiance and second wedding and eventually I was the second mother of his child. All of those things were and maybe still are, a little hard. How do I not compare myself to you? How do I not wonder if I am meeting the standard you set? If I'm as patient as you, and so many other things.
But this is our life now, and I am so glad! I almost can't imagine it any other way! It must be so easy! ;)
I know I have failed in the past, and I know I will fail in the future as well. I will say something that may be insensitive, I will think of our side first and forget how you may feel, I will upset Kailee, and I will screw up a million times in parenting her. We will disagree on things and do things differently, we'll hurt for the things she misses out on and we'll stress over the holidays. But one thing I'll never do is stop loving her and I'll never stop respecting you as her mom and as my friend.
I promise to always put her needs above mine, to love her, respect her and teach her. I promise to be an example to her of loving unconditionally. I promise to never let her feel like she is anything but my own. I'll never put her second to Hank. I will continue to show her that we're one big family, not two families. I will always support you and your decisions. I will ask you for advise and I will listen. I will come to you with anything I think you should know. I will offer help even when you don't want it. I promise to try to always think of your point of view and not just mine. I will be there for every dance competition, school performance and important event in her life. I will support her and love her through her teenage years. I will make sure we all stay on the same page. I will reinforce rules and consequences you set. She will always know that I'm not on her team, I'm on yours. WE, the four of us, are on the same team. And I promise to be there for you with Boston (and any others that may come ;)) and love them like my own! I promise to never put her (or you) in a position where she feels like she has to choose between the two sets of parents.
I wish there were words to accurately describe how I feel about your daughter, our daughter. There aren't. I've tried to find them for years. When finding out about being pregnant with Hank, I'd be a big fat liar if I said I worried about him as much as I worried about her. I love her in the deepest mother way possible. She is the one who made me a mom, without having the title.
I will never and could never amount to the person you are to her. You are her mommy. There is NO one in the world like a mommy. It doesn't matter how close we are, how well we get along, or how well she listens to me. I am Lacy and you are her mommy and I wouldn't want it any other way.
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart for sharing her with me. For treating her as OUR daughter and not just yours. For not making me feel like a less than, because I'm a step parent. For listening to me, letting me vent and for also opening up to me. Thank you for trusting me with Boston and loving Hank too. Thank you for the late night chats (sometimes REALLY late..oops!) and for being honest and open with me, as I will always be with you. This won't be easy, but it can be fun! We already know that!! I'm so glad we get to share so many memories TOGETHER, with Kailee. I'm so glad she never feels like she has to choose between her mom or her dad. She gets to love us all! She has a huge heart, and I think I know where it came from!