I became a single dad when my daughter was a year old. I stayed that way for a year-and-a-half, mainly because I was scared of introducing any other women to my daughter. That's not to say I didn't date, I just didn't bring any other women into my daughter's life without good cause.
When I met my wife, my daughter was two-and-a-half. I waited for like a month of dating before deciding to make the formal introduction so that I could see just how the situation would unfold with all of us together.
Needless to say, as we are now married, the first meeting went well, and every day since has been a blessing. The two of us have added three children of our own to the mix, with another on the way, and the dynamic between my daughter and my wife has not deteriorated, it has only gotten stronger.
Don't get me wrong, there have been difficult moments, as there are bound to be when you are talking about blended families, but those are just normal bumps in the road.
One of the things that most impresses me about the whole situation is that, my daughter will often go and talk to my wife about what is bothering her before she even comes to me. They have built that bond between step-mother and step-daughter that allows them to behave as if they are related by blood.
One of the greatest things about the whole scenario, is how warmly my daughter has been welcomed into my wife's family. They took to her with enthusiasm. It didn't hurt, that my daughter was the first "grandchild" for my in-laws.
As the years have passed, the dynamic has changed, as the problems and situations have evolved.
I use the word "problems" only because I lack a better one. As my daughter, who is about to turn 8, has grown, her wants and needs have also changed. She has started to figure out who she is as a person, and started to make her own "choices."
I see aspects of my wife in how my daughter carries herself, and I also see pieces of her real mother there as well. She is adapting her own personality to include traits from the two most important women in her life.
I try and look for any signs of me in her personality, and I think they might be there, but I mostly see the traits she gets from her mom, and from my wife. It's a wonderful feeling to know that the woman that I have chosen to spend the rest of my life with has become such a great mother-figure to a child that isn't even hers.
I'd like to take some credit for it, but in reality, I am just "Dad." When we are talking to our daughters, I am just there to be a rock for them. To help them when they are sad, to chase the boys away when they come knocking, and when it is necessary, to levy out discipline. I do my best, but when it comes to raising little girls, I have no idea what I am really doing, but my wife does, and I am thankful for that. She is helping my daughter to become a bright-eyed, intelligent, and well-adjusted young lady.
If you are, or have ever been a step-parent and have treated the children like you own, this piece is in honor of you.