I basically took her on initially as a project. I thought I could be a good mentor to her, it would not cost me a dime, and it was a way for me to be able to give something back. Since then I have grown to love her like a daughter and also as a dear friend, not to mention that I got a pretend grand child out of the deal. I would not have missed this for the world.
This odd relationship has enriched all of our lives and I do not believe any of us would change a thing about it, all things considered. In it I have been able to glimpse what my relationship with my own dear daughter will eventually be able to be, even though at the time this all started she was still in the phase of a teenager who mostly rolled her eyes at her mother. It got me through some rough spots, I freely admit. In addition, it has given my daughter a person who is just like an older sister, someone she can go to for advice and a guardian angel to watch out for her when I cannot.
My relationship with my bonus daughter was free from the constraints of my own children who were still in the years of believing their mother needed to be protected from the truth. Truth be told, all most parent/child relationships need is absolute brutal honesty, which is asking a lot on both sides.
Sometimes I play the role of mother, sometimes friend with my bonus daughter. Since we are both mothers, we usually come down on the same side of things, and this is a great comfort to me.
The other day my dear Abigail came to visit me. We made blueberry pancakes wearing our aprons, then we went and fed some carrots to some horses. Nothing big, but time together spent doing whatever we wanted. She does not seem to know that The Beautiful Redhead is my daughter, and when I say she is, the pretend Grand Baby steadfastly insists "I am your child......" and I do not correct her. She is most certainly the child of my heart, and too young to understand that love is the eternal spring that never runs dry. There is more than enough to go around for all. I let her have this truth, and am glad to do so. The Beautiful Redhead, on the other hand, I think sometimes feels a little jealous. I am ashamed to admit that this warms my heart because it proves to me that she still loves me. She has just turned 20 and we are almost at the point where we can be equals in the emotional world of our hearts. At last! I rejoice for this, have worked and waited for this.
I recently picked up the phone for a conversation with my bonus daughter. She was making dinner for my daughter, who makes Abigail mind, and Abigail says she is mean. My bonus daughter has come to depend on my daughter to sometimes be the disciplinarian when she can't get Abigail to mind. Just like real sisters!
At the beginning of the conversation we were talking as friends. She was asking me what The Beautiful Redhead would eat, so I took on the role of mother. At some point my daughter arrives and in the background I can hear her and Abigail having an animated conversation. We keep talking. In the background I can hear an escalation of noise. All of a sudden my bonus daughter's voice becomes stressed and she says "I have to go now, The Beautiful Redhead and Abigail are fighting." And just like that, we were both mothers again. I got off the phone laughing, grateful for the fact that while our roles all keep changing, they are also staying the same, and in the end the mothers are always in charge.
My Beautiful Redhead, Mackenzie Grace, this is to show you in case you ever feel alone, that you never are. You will always have a friend, and a mother, and we will always love you no matter what you do. When you are proud of yourself, when you are ashamed of yourself, when you don't know where to turn, come home to us. We will never think less of you. We will defend you like dragons when you need it. We have done it all before, and we will carry you and uphold you even when you cannot do that for yourself.
I am so very proud of the person you have and continue to become. You shine with bravery, grace and love. You are smart, you know your own mind and you do not have a problem with speaking it. I doubt that you realize how far ahead of the game you are. You make up your mind and do not stray from your values. You are true to yourself. You have a beauty that will never fade because it originates in your soul. The rest is just window dressing, and quite beautiful window dressing at that. I don't know if you realize how beautiful you are, from the inside out.
For the days when you don't, here is proof. I am so very blessed to have been lucky enough to be your mother. My love for you has grown with you over the years. The day you were born I thought I could never love you more, but I was so very wrong. This love will keep growing, and every person you touch along the way will only multiply that love by however many people are lucky enough to know you.
I would not have missed these past 20 years for all the money or sleep in the world. Never forget that. I love you sweetie. Here's to the next 120 years. I will still be loving you then.