I know that my Daddy loved me. He didn't have to; after all I wasn't his daughter through genetics, but by choice. He kept me with him even after my mother passed away. He never failed to tell me he loved me through his way of keeping me and taking care of me. A day didn't go by when I wasn't thankful to have a place to live with people that I knew cared about me.
It was a year after my mother died that he remarried. The woman was beautiful both inside and out. She didn't even balk about having a child from a previous marriage that wasn't his by blood. She treated me as her daughter from the time she walked into our home and to this very day.
I think one of my fondest memories was when I was leaving to go and visit my older sister and she said the words, "I love you, Pasty." I cried. Not because I was sad or unhappy that she cared for me, but because I knew exactly how much it took for her to say those words, and that she wouldn't have said them if she didn't mean them.
I learned a lot, I think, from the relationships I had with my parents. It was because of them that I found that it's not the blood that matters in a family but the heart.
So, in the spirit of those that taught me to love I try to extend that to my own children. My 16 year old may not be mine by blood but she is mine by heart. Like all of us she has her faults, but she fights them with anger and frustrations which cause her more harm then good.
I have faith that in the long run she'll learn to control those emotions. She actually took the time tonight to sit with me and discuss things. She listened. I'll have to say that it shows quite a bit of maturity for a 16 year old to actually take the time to hear what their mother has to say and actually think of ways to implement the ideas they give.
I can't take the credit. I had very good teachers.
So, thank you to all those people that take children in and love them. Take it from someone who knows - it makes a world of difference.