My Girl

Alexandra was 6 years old when I met her.

She was full of personality! I knew she was a very special girl.

When Rob told his ex wife that he was involved in a serious relationship with a woman with two boys (that woman being me of course), her response was “I bet she’s happy to get a girl”.

If you have followed a little bit of my blog you might already know that her Mom is not my biggest fan, so it wasn’t exactly meant as a positive comment, I’m sure. But, I get it. It’s tough having to share your kids and it brings up all sorts of insecurities and jealousy.

Anyhow, I WAS happy to “get a girl”. Just like I was happy to “get two more boys”. But admittedly, I was excited at the prospect of having another female to do girly things with (she’s a girly girl) and relate to in a different way.

But, also admittedly, it IS different having step kids versus biological. And please note, I said, “different”. Not worse, or not “If you were her real daughter I bet she’d do…blah blah blah”, like Zandra has unfortunately been told before.

I only met her when she is 6 so I don’t hold the key to so many memories. You start at a different place, and have to find your groove together. There is not this automatic unbreakable bond. I started out loving her because she was Rob’s daughter, but I now love her because she is truly my girl too.  You do need to work hard at creating that bond. It can be hard, but you also have to accept that it will be its own unique relationship and it will be different so not to feel the need to compare to anyone else. However, there are some sweet perks too. I like to remind her she need not be feisty with me, as she can save all her mother-daughter drama for her Mom! We laugh at that. But seriously, we have created our own little Smom/Skid relationship that I love.

Over the years I have watched her develop and seen her shine. I have had the opportunity to expose her to different things too. This year for mother’s day, she wrote me a beautiful card and in it she said “You have inspired me to do so many things!” I realized, at that moment, with such clarity, that while we aren’t biologically connected, we are bonded forever in spirit, and she truly is my girl too.

As my girl, I get to also expose her to some of the many things that I love, and that I loved as a young girl. Overnight camp was one of those things! We spent the day yesterday running around getting things ready for her to leave for overnight camp this week! I am so happy to be able to share with her my stories of the camp (she is doing the same camp program I did), and can’t wait to hear about her stories too!

After we packed everything up for camp, she agreed to be my little model so I could practice my photography skills after completing my first photography course a couple of weeks ago! Another reason I’m thrilled to have her around – she LOVES getting all prettied up and pose. We had a fun time!

Here are a few of my favourite shots:

And that’s my girl! I’m so incredibly lucky to have her in my life!


My Girl — 21 Comments

  1. Beautiful girl and beautiful photos. People tell me this a lot and I’m going to tell it to you. When you’re the photographer, it’s definitely about the settings and the composition and the light – for SURE. It’s also about the relationship between you and your subject. If you were formally strangers, you can still create a feeling of trust. If you are two people who love each other, it SO shows in the photos. And you can see so much in these photos.

    Beautiful writing too. My mom gave birth to two girls. When she married my dad she always said she got another girl and two BOYS as a wedding gift.

    • Thank you for sharing your wisdom Tamara. You are my photography inspiration! And I love your mom too:)) She sounds like such an amazing Mom!

  2. Beautiful girl and beautiful photos!!
    No offense to other photos…but these are way way up there…great course and great skills already showing. Keep it up!

    Provocative title for a post. Was very cool to read.

    Ironic as was at a huge party yesterday for the day and 15 woman sitting around chatting all day and a StepMom most knew (I don’t know her) came up. She at the summercamp had been saying “my daughter…etc” and this story was being told. Was interesting to hear people’s views and perspectives. Two of the Moms there were Stepmoms and also had different views on the Stepmom calling the girl her daughter.

    Funny that today you posted must have been there in spirit!

    I hope Zandra has an amazing time at camp..I want to hear all about it.


    • I actually always refer to Zandra as my Step daughter – just because I see no shame in doing that! That is who she is to me – it is merely a way to describe our relationship, but does not define it. She is still “my girl”. When she was little she asked if she could call me “Mom”. I told her that she already had a Mom and that special name was reserved for her. But, we have special names and relationship too and that was enough for us!

  3. What a gorgeous Girl! And what gorgeous photos! I love that you have your “girl” through marriage and that you’ve found your groove and your bond. It sounds as if the two of you are lucky to have each other. And good for your for your photography course!

  4. Love this post and those photos! I love when you can get a sense of personality thru pictures. Coming from one stepmom to another, it is different, but it’s very special to have another amazing person to watch grow and change and shine in the world. 🙂

  5. Beautiful girl, beautiful post, lucky girl to have someone like you. This was a post I needed to read today. As you know, LB’s kids are here and I’m struggling to form that bond with them under these new circumstances. I’m their primary caregiver while they are here and their dad is at work, which is different from when they lived in town and adds a new dynamic. They are testing, testing, testing. In addition, they aren’t openly affectionate children and I’m very big on not infringing on kids space and forcing it, so I’m aware that I’m hugging my children and telling them I love them, but I’m not doing it to his… they could probably use it as I’m sure they are missing their mom. As a teacher and even in my past, although very limited dating experience, the bond just happened and quickly. Kids usually gravitate toward me if I just give them space. That’s not happened here… tip-toeing through new territory.

    • Oh I could post a whole post on this! Give it time. Let them come to you, but also don’t be afraid to do what naturally comes to you!! Kids often have to deal with feelings of betrayal with their bio-mom first. They need to feel they have HER permission to bond with you. Sounds like you are handling their inevitable testing well:)

  6. Wonderful pictures and I love the relationship you share! I am sure it is very much different than the relationship she shares with her mom, without that drama like you said! Overnight camp was always a great memory for me and I’m glad that you were able to share those memories with Zandra! Stopping in from SITS!

  7. She is definitely eating up the camera. Beautiful! It’s great that you two are able to define your own relationship and do what works or you. Your photography skills are great!

  8. I can feel the love shining through these photos, Leah. Your passion for photography clearly shows as well! Thanks for the smiles this morning-a warm and lovely post!

  9. What a sweet story and incredible pictures!! Your step-daughter is so cute!! As the mom of 2 boys I can see that “gaining” a girl would be very special!!!
    Thanks for visiting my site!!

  10. You are very lucky Leah! It’s amazing how a post can touch someone in totally different but relatable way. I am so glad that you have been able to bond with her and share some of your loves with her through her childhood. This is an inspiration for any new Stepmother/or woman dating/apprehensive about dating a man with with children. Particularly girls, we can be a mess 🙂 She is adorable btw!

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