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My Stepmom is 11 years older than me. My baby sister was born when I was 11. The symmetry of that always gave me chills. Her magnificence at such a young age did as well.

I can’t say that I was an easy child to parent, let alone to stepparent. How she handled everything I threw at her, intentionally or simply by virtue of being the hot mess of a little kid I was, I don’t really know. I know that she gave me a stability, moral compass, a sense of integrity, and a strong work ethic that I had never been so consciously exposed to before.

As much as I try to carry forward my mother’s legacy, I am always quick to say that I wouldn’t be who I am without my Mama.

We lost contact for so many years, and then thanks to a fluke/blessing I found her. Even then, it was not an easy road to finding the bond we now share. I was still trying to heal, trying to grow up, and trying to figure out life. She had been through more than any human should endure.

But she’s my rock. And for all the years I felt motherless, adrift, broken, it is the most incredible gift to know that I once again have a port in the storm, a safe harbor, and someone who unfailingly and unflinchingly has my back.

That she is someone my Mom so adored and respected is all the better. And Mama is always careful to never replace my Mom, to simply love me as her own.

Of all the blessings life has granted me, none mean more to me than my family.

I’m so lucky to have her in mine.

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