I am so (and I cannot stress this enough) blessed to have the dad that I do. There are a lot of things in this life I owe my dad a huge "thank you" for. Driving me to dance class multiple times a week for years, brushing my hair every day when I was little before he took me to pre-school, and hugging me when I have been upset.
Some other things include holding me accountable when I have messed up, while also reminding me he loves me no matter what, teaching me to be fearless in going after my dreams, and being my best friend every single day.
But there is one more thing I think I owe my dad a substantial "thank you" for marrying my stepmom.
I am so unbelievably happy for my dad, as he found someone who makes him happier than ever.
Seeing them together, it is beyond obvious how much she compliments his life, gives him endless amounts of unconditional love, and listens to his jokes.
The thing is, though, that when she married him and took on the role of being a wife, she also took on the role of being a stepmother.
When doing that, she did not have to do so in such a selfless, graceful, compassionate manner. She did not have to do so with such enthusiasm. And she definitely did not have to accept me and treat me as her own.
But she did.
There are few people I look up to as much as I do with my stepmom. She is a wonderful person and has been an exemplary example of hard work, kindness, beauty, and strength.
When I have gone through difficult times, she has been there. And it has not been out of obligation, pity, or as a "favor". It is because she WANTS to be there for me and chooses to be. As far as I can tell, she does not think twice about it.
When I have been happy and am excited about certain accomplishments, she has been there. She has rooted for me, helped me, and made it known she is proud of me.
She has been there for me to confide in, listens to my jokes (I take after my dad when it comes to my humor), and pushes me to be my best.
I think we all are aware I have not always made it easy. In fact, I have actually made it rather difficult at times in the past. But in spite of that, she never gave up on me, and she chose to continue giving me more of her love and forgiveness than she ever needed to.
For that, I will forever be beyond grateful and I will spend the remainder of my life attempting to show her just how much I love, appreciate, and respect her.
To my dad: thank you so much for marrying her.
And to my stepmom: I am so proud to be able to call myself your stepdaughter.