A Letter To My Step-Dad

A Letter To My Step-Dad

You're pretty much Captain America.

Dear Step-Dad,

I’m not going to lie, I was a little anxious when you married my mother. I had never really thought about my mom actually getting remarried and was a little nervous when our little family of three turned into a family of five, and eventually six. Although I knew you, I felt like there was a lot more I needed to learn before I “approved” of you, and I honestly wasn’t too sure if I wanted to “approve” of you…in the beginning.

Eleven years later, I truly believe you are a superhero. Not only have you served our country, but you have made a significant impact on our family. You have joined four children and helped us adapt to life together. You have taken my brother and me in as your own and raised my little sister to be a beautiful, smart young lady as well as helping her come to terms with some of her circumstances. You are so active in your church and I’m so proud of the work that you do there. You work so hard at everything you do and when you decided to go back to school, I watched you work tirelessly to study and maintain excellent grades. Even then you continued to do yard work, take care of our family, and do anything else that needed to be done in between. You’re funny, smart, and some would even say you favor Captain America.

You work hard and are an excellent family man, but you are also the best thing that has ever happened to my mother. It makes me happy to know that I don’t have to look further than you to see how a man should treat a woman. It makes me happier to know that even though I am away at school, I know that you will be there if my mom needs anything, is having a bad day, or is just tired. Even if you aren’t having the greatest day, you will stop everything to do anything that needs to be done and to put a smile on my mother’s face. And for these things I cannot thank you enough. Please never lose that spark with her; it really is the greatest part of your marriage.

Most of all, the impact you have made on my life is so important to me. You have taught me how to stand on my own and make all of those financial decisions I could never do alone. You continually encourage me to do the best I can in school and to never give up on what I want, not matter how crazy it might sound at the time. You have taught me how to shoot a gun, clean it, and how important it is to have pride in your country no matter what. You have taken a young, broken girl and turned her into a woman that is ready to take on life head-on. You have taught me so much about myself and life that I didn’t know. Most of all, you have always called me daughter.

Thank you for everything, Jim.

Your Daughter

Cover Image Credit: Jennifer McKinney

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Dear Mom, Now That I'm Older

A letter to the woman who made me the woman I am today.

Dear Mom,

Now that I'm older, I definitely appreciate you a lot more than I did as a kid. I appreciate the little things, from the random text messages to constantly tagging me on Facebook in your "funny" photos and sending me pins of stuff I like on Pinterest. Now that I'm older, I can look back and realize that everything I am is all because of you. You've made me strong but realize it's okay to cry. You've shown me how a mother gives everything to her children to give them a better life than she had, even when she's left with nothing. And, most importantly you've taught me to never give up and without this, I would not be where I am today.

Mom, now that I'm older, I realize that you're the best friend I'm ever going to have. You cheer me on when I try new things and support me in deciding to be whatever person I want to be. Thank you for never telling me I can't do something and helping me figure out ways to be the best woman I can be. Your love for me is unconditional. They say true, unconditional love can only come from God, but mom, I think you're a pretty close second.

SEE ALSO: An Open Letter To The Cool Mom

Now that I'm older, I don't get to see you as much. But not seeing you as much just makes the times I do get to see you the absolute best, and I look forward to it every time. Now that I'm older, I'm not going to live at home. But, I promise to always come back because I know the door is always open. Your house is always going to be my home, and no other place is going to be the same.

Now that I'm older, I realize how much I miss you taking care of me. I miss you making me dinner, making sure I was doing well in school, and taking me to endless appointments. I miss you waking me up for school and then waking me up again because I didn't listen the first time.

But, Mom, now that I'm older, I can see all that you've done for me. I can look back and see how big of a brat I was but you still loved me (and let me live) anyways. I can understand why you did certain things and frankly, you're one bada** of a woman.

To have you as my mom and my best friend has been the best thing that has ever happened to me. So, Mom, now that I'm older, thank you, for everything.


Your Daughter

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This Is What Being Away From Home Taught Me About My Home

... It's ok to make plans with people besides your mom.


My home, for as long as I can remember, has been my safe haven. No matter how many arguments my family and I got into, I always knew my home to be a place where I could feel safe, at peace, grounded, and most importantly, comfortable.

This is why, when I decided to embark on a journey to Israel, 6,000 miles away felt like I was traveling into space. I felt as if I couldn't move forward without my mom by my side, reminding me everything is going to be okay. The relationship that my mom and I have is a special one, and knowing that I was not in close proximity to her created much-unwanted anxiety for us both. Knowing that while she may have only been a phone call away, that she wouldn't be able to come hold me if I needed her to, was something I really struggled with.

While I was away, I had hoped that my excitement for the trip and the adventures that were to come would keep me grounded and sane. Unfortunately, as the days went on, I became more and more homesick. However, I was able to learn some really important lessons in terms of the importance of my home, and sometimes the need to escape it.

The new friendships I made showed me that sometimes it's okay to make plans with people besides your mom (only partially joking).

The new foods I tried showed me that there are so many different types of foods that my chef of a mother hasn't even heard of.

The new experiences showed me just how important it is to step out of my comfort zone, even if doing so means I have to be 6,000 miles away from the comfort of my mom's arms.

There are hundreds of thousands of things that this trip has taught me, but it especially taught me that life exists away from your home as well. While it is natural to want to stay close to the things that bring you comfort, it is also essential that you allow yourself to grow.

I couldn't be luckier to have had such an incredible experience abroad, but I also couldn't be luckier to have been able to come home to a mom that was waiting with open arms and open ears.

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