The movies would have us believe that the best moments in life are big and splashy; that they happen at weddings or proms in the midst of large crowds. But, in my experience, the best moments in life are quiet; they happen without ceremony or fanfare; they happen without an audience.
Last night was one of those moments for me. My step-daughter, who I will call Jessica, arrived for a week long visit. She was 3 years old when I first met her dad. Her relationship with her dad, and with me by extension, has been a tortured one. Jessica has been torn in and out of her father’s life since she was two when her mom moved to Mexico. She would live nearby and be a big part of our lives for a few years, then her mom would take her back to Mexico for several years, during which time we would have little or no contact. Jessica was in our lives when she was 3 until 5, from 10 to 12, and then again from 16 to 20. But we missed all of the years in between and many years since. She is 33 years old now.
Jessica was my first child. I met her when she was 3 and fell head over heals in-love with this cute kids with the wicked sense of humour. Before spending time with her, I wasn’t sure I wanted to have kids. I was afraid that I would be a terrible mother. But I loved spending time with her and it was a pleasure spending time with her and her dad together.
My husband and I got married, after living together for several years, when my step-daughter was 10. We had just gone through a year-long custody battle, trying to keep her in Canada to keep her safe from her step-father in Mexico. The trial was over, her mother was forced to stay in Canada, and we were going to have her in our lives on a regular basis once more. So her dad and I got married because we wanted her to know that we planned to be together for a long time.
Unfortunately, this time of peace and stability was short-lived; she was taken out of our lives again one year later, leaving her dad and I grief-stricken and broken-hearted. So many years were lost. So many milestones were missed. So much pain and grief. And then, last night, she walked through the door, sat down to dinner, and slipped back into the fabric of our family. It was as if she never left. The five sat in the living room talking for hours with everyone fighting for the floor. It was lively and fun; it was comfortable and natural; it was wonderful and magical!
Somehow,with all the gaps in time, with all the distance, despite all the pain and loss on all sides, this beautiful young woman walked through the door and stepped right back into our hearts once more.