Sassy did not want a stepmother.
She was a very small child when her mom and Dad split up, and they had both shielded her from the worst of everything that was wrong in that house. She was the pet of the whole family and her mom's fervently-longed-for daughter, and she had absolutely no interest in giving up her place as baby of the family and moving in with a bunch of strangers with a lot of RULES.
She particularly did not want a stepmother.
Sassy and I had a very rocky start. She wasn't used to chores and rules, and I insisted upon them. Her mom asserted that she didn't have to do what I told her to do; her Daddy asserted that she did. Poor Sassy was caught in the middle.
Well, that was then.
It was our mutual adoration of Lance that provided the first bridge. She learned to be more trusting, I learned to be less hard-nosed. She discovered that I also love to write; I discovered that she has a wicked little sarcastic streak, as well. Then too, we were three girls sharing a house with five boys – we banded together to combat toilet seats being left up, roughhousing and uncivilized behavior in general. Through holidays, vacations, Harry Potter, driving to school and surgeries, we learned to like each other . . .
. . . and then to love each other.
Sassy is a wonder. She is genius-smart, but she has so many other good qualities that her fierce intelligence hardly even stands out. She is funny and ambitious and creative and kind (well, minus that sarcastic streak!) and ebullient. She is also beautiful. I'm not talking mother-pride cute, either – Sassy is gorgeous, and rendered even more so because she is totally unconscious of the fact. I couldn't love her more if she'd grown under my heart instead of in it.
Today she is seventeen.
Happy birthday, Sass! Sorry to be demonstrative in public, but as you know a journalist must speak the truth. You are a fantastic Tochter, and I am proud and happy to be your Stiefmutter.
I love you!