I shock myself sometimes with the things that took me so long to get. And the stinking process to get there. Thing is, my surprise is based on developing character you would already expect from any sane, functioning adult. I think I was barely making it at one point. I have just come into true existence. Really. A compassionate, loving existence, at least.
Since they moved in the summer, I miss my step daughter and her children. Deeply. It pains me to know I wasn't there for either child's birthday this year. I ache to watch them grow. To see their personalities develop. To be there for their mom.
There was a point in my life, especially as a hormonal, hurt teenager, when I didn't think I was actually capable of rooted, devoted, loyal feelings toward another. Miss someone? Nah. They wouldn't miss me. There was never a close enough bond to be missed. My apologies if you thought long ago we had a connection. I needed people. I wanted friendships. But I didn't trust. I didn't value myself enough to feel listened to or wanted. I'll be honest, I don't even think I expected to truly have simple cordial feelings for another. You can't imagine the thoughts that went through my head toward strangers or acquaintances I had to deal with on a day to day basis. Not that I focused too much on my constant, negative thoughts toward them. My mind was always redirected to telling myself how stupid I was. I was so hurt, so self centered, so self absorbed that my longing for love blinded the true path to receiving love.
To receive love you must delight in another.
I didn't. I saw faults. I felt offense. Oh, I frequently felt offense. I was smothered in the constant distractions of it's not fair or what about me? And so, ultimately, I missed out on so many opportunities. One way friendships. Relationships with walls. Surface interactions. And, loneliness.
Until I met my husband. The most unlikely of candidates. The laid back personality that regularly ripped at my type-A mind, driving me crazy in the process. The impulsive nature that incessantly pushed my cautious tendencies. The disorderly spirit that frequently tested my need for organization. The tireless workaholic that shamed my lazy self-centeredness. The just-do-it attitude that counteracted my default of becoming frozen in fear. In all our clashes, one thing always shone brightly before me. His love. His love for me. His love for his daughter. His love for people.
Love that truly is unconditional. Even when I am moody. Tired. Fed up. It passes any test. "Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things" 1 Corinthians 13:7.
I learned so much about that love watching him with my step daughter. I didn't think it was possible for a parent and a teenager to have such a close relationship. Whether or not there were cool friends around. Whether or not they saw something on the same level. Whether or not one of them made a mistake. And mishaps and blunders happen. I stood on the sidelines. Angry for them. Hungry for justice. Wanting lessons to be painfully learned. Expecting the process of feeling bad and regretful apologies. But that was not their way of doing it. They were there to support each other. Apologies need not be earned because they were assumed. It was automatically okay.
What a gift it is to be a part of that now. I'm a mess. I screw up. But I have them. They are mine. They always will be. It took me so long to embrace the feelings of loving someone even when I am not necessarily pleased with their actions. It took me so long to really believe that I am cared for in such a way that I cannot be simply tossed aside. This is something everyone was meant to experience. Love doesn't turn off and on. Love is.
And always will be. Which makes me miss my step daughter and her children even more. And hope that I will again see them soon.