Divorce is defined as "the action or an instance of legally dissolving a marriage." Though the definition that Merriam-Webster uses is true, the definition is a little different if you've lived it. And comes with a little more baggage than one might think.
For me divorce was moving miles away from my dad, starting in a new school district, and leaving my best friends behind. It was packing up every other weekend to go spend time with my dad, alternating holidays, and talk of child support. It was not making eye contact with the empty seat that my dad used to sit in at the dinner table, it was trying to cheer my mom up after she heard a song that reminded her of a simpler time and it was wishing on every 11:11 moment that God would put my life back to the way it was. It was a lot of bitterness, confusion and heartbreak, especially for an eleven-year-old girl. And for the longest time, it was a grudge I held buried deep in my heart.
Now at the age of 20, I realize that holding onto that anger and hurt did not benefit anyone. I have learned that there is no point to hold onto something that you physically have no power to change. There comes a point in time when you realize that you just have to let go and let God. And when you do, things can turn out pretty great.
My "evil stepmother" has become one of the people I look up to the most. There is no rule that you have to love your stepchildren; it is a choice. My stepmom chose to accept, support and love me as her own. And I can tell you that I haven't always made it easy for her. From retrieving my keys from within my locked car to making my favorite meal after a long day to watching my crazy and slightly terrible dance moves to just listening to what I have to say she is always there for me. My "wicked step-sisters" have become some of my best friends. Our talks range from boys to work to new dance moves to not talking about it but being about it and everything else in between. From Bahama Bucks visits to synchronized swimming to dance fusion to Target trips to shouting the lyrics to "Miss New Booty" at the top of our lungs — there is never a dull moment when I am with them. I couldn't have asked for better "sistas' from anotha' mista.'" And my "horrible stepbrother" has become one of the funniest people I know. Between some grade A sarcasm to random facts about such random topics to the best chocolate chip cookies, I know I can always count on him for a good laugh. Whether he is sucking down some "mother's milk" or talking about his future ownership at an Italian restaurant he is always cracking me up.
I say all of this because no one tells you that your step-sisters aren't wicked or that your stepmom isn't actually evil. No one tells you that it's possible to love your stepfamily just as much as your blood family. No one tells you that your step-family might be a piece of your family that you never knew you were missing.
If someone had told me this a year or two ago I would have laughed and walked away. A year or two ago, the people that I referred to as my stepfamily were strangers to me. But now they are just my family. There is nothing step about my family anymore. And I thank God for that every day.