Sydney, or “The Stepdaughter”, as I like to call her in all of my blog posts where she makes an appearance, graduated from Spelman College this past May and moved in with us a month later. To many step parents out there, my situation is their nightmare, but Sydney and I don’t have your typical step relationship, so I have to say I was looking forward to her arrival in our lives.
It’s been years since Sydney has lived with us. When she was little, she used to spend every summer with us in NY, giving me a little taste of parenthood before I was truly ready for it and at the time, enriching my life in ways I couldn’t quantify. I have plenty of fond memories of us together in Bed Stuy and Battery Park, from taking her to camp in the mornings to giving her a dollar for every curse word I uttered (I’m pretty sure she made a killing off me). I loved her from the minute I met her, when she came running out of the airport with her braids and bright smile to greet me with a big, unexpected hug.
My friends always thought I was crazy, having some little girl come into my life every summer and change the pace of things, but I never looked at it that way. Summer was my chance to spend time with this totally cool kid I loved, so it wasn’t really that big of a deal.
Sydney’s friends often wonder about our relationship, amazed that she actually likes her stepmom, that we get along with one another. It’s the nature of the “step” beast, they’re expecting us to live up to the stereotype. But if I can say anything about Syd and me it’s that we are anything but a stereotype and for that I am thankful.
When she graduated, I was unexpectedly asked to speak at her party and found myself very choked up, trying to put into words what she means to me. The next night it was Sydney’s turn to address the crowd and she bowled me over as she explained the role I’ve played in her life, words I will forever carry and treasure.
So now she’s here and the four of us are doing this thing. Dash is in heaven, loving the fact that his big sister lives with him, Henry is learning how to be a dad to a big kid and a little one at the same time and I’m just hoping she finds her way in this world, doing something that makes her happy.
I know the day is going to come when she moves out and gets her own place [UPDATE: she did this, I’m proud of her, but doesn’t mean I don’t miss her], but right now I’m rather enjoying having another girl around the house [UPDATE: it was fun while it lasted]. A huge, huge thanks to her mom for sharing her with me because Syd the Kid is all kinds of awesome.
“Who runs the world? Girls, girls!” Beyonce