A letter to my step-daughter

April 25, 2016

Grace,
Do you remember when your father told you he had a girlfriend? I was on the phone with him at the time and he told me you didn’t like it that you made a face.
I have been disrespected by you so often that I am numb. I expect you to be defiant, hurtful or rude and I am never disappointed. You have been mean. You have accused me of being mean since the day you met me because I wanted you to do something for yourself. I wanted you to make your bed. I wanted you to fold and put your own clothes away. I wanted you to pick up your dish at the end of a meal and discard it. My mother wanted you to sit properly at the table and eat your food as a mature child. Your father and I wanted you to have polite manners by saying ‘excuse me’ instead of interrupting. We wanted you to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. We wanted you to address who it was you were speaking to.
You often would tell us that your mom does everything for you, so that would explain that you didn’t know how to pick up after yourself or make your bed. Yet when you were shown how to do it you still refused. You also explained that children your age don’t say excuse me, please and thank you. You said I was placing adult expectations on you. Every human being on the planet is capable of being polite and having manners with the first interaction with another regardless of age. No matter what it was we asked of you, expected of you or demanded of you – you refused. You lied, you cried, you came up with any excuse you could think of and if that wasn’t enough you ran home to your mother and complained. You embellished every story and left out what you had done to create the problem. It was always that I was mean and your father had changed since being with me. That may very well be true. However, that does not give you the right to disrespect him and you have disrespected the both of us.
I took you shopping for your niece. I spent $150 of my money for you to have a gift for the baby shower. Now you have said thank you to me. Your mother has never, your brother has never nor Madison’s mother. Your mom did tell the court about the conversation we had in the car that day. Remember I was asking you if you had had any water. Then, since you said you did not, I explained about dehydration and what happens to the body without hydration. Remember that? That is what is important to you and your family. Complaining that I had an ‘inappropriate’ conversation with you about hemorrhoids when in fact it was an informative conversation about proper health. Again, it was more important for you to talk to your family about all that you consider wrong without one ounce of acknowledgement of my generosity. And it didn’t end there. You felt free to ask me for money yet refused to cooperate in earning any.
Now you have admitted to us that you did in fact lie to your mother regarding the doctor’s appointment I had. Why you even mentioned it to her at all, I don’t understand but that is not my business. I’d like to believe that you wanted to have a heartfelt conversation with your mother since that is where a daughter should hear it from and of course, she had to react. Your father wants to teach you everything he can. He wants you to have proper information and he doesn’t know what your head is being filled with elsewhere. With the way you behave and react he is greatly concerned. You did admit that you lied because you were afraid she wouldn’t let you talk to your dad or vice versa. You felt you had to lie to her on a number of occasions. In fact, you told me after our very first outing that you weren’t honest with your mother about that trip. Your mother will never believe that. She will never believe that you were untruthful or at least she will never admit it to me. I know she said that she cannot believe your dad is sticking up for me. Your father and I defend each other because we are regularly attacked by your extended family. You know that you can say or do whatever you want around us because she will never believe that you’ve done anything wrong.
You insist that I said something about massaging your dad’s knee. I did not. You refuse to acknowledge that you are wrong. Having said that, even if I had said it, ‘what’s the harm?’ I could have said bananas are yellow and you would have complained about it. You also ran to your grandmother to tell her I said, ‘men don’t like to see girls cry’. What is wrong with that statement? Why in God’s name would you find that offensive? Because it came out of my mouth? That is the very same day we booked the trip to California. You were upset, you felt left out even though you were not invited to my cousin’s wedding. No children were invited, which is typically proper etiquette. We explained that it was the weekend AFTER your birthday but you insisted on telling your mother that it was the weekend of your birthday. I know this because your mom texted your dad, ‘dumbass planned his vacation the week of her birthday. Now she is upset’. When we asked you why, you said you got confused. Did you ever tell your mother that? Did you ever go back and tell her you were mistaken? Everybody makes mistakes, everybody.
Wicked: ‘She went to see Wicked on purpose because she knew I couldn’t go.’ How does this make any sense whatsoever? We were ordered by the court to be apart. I sold my daughter’s ticket out of RESPECT for you. I went with my older daughter on her class trip to see a musical with the members of MIIST. This all had NOTHING to do with you in any way. So you verbalize your disappointment in the form of anger at me because I went without you or rather you couldn’t go so I shouldn’t have gone? Do you hear how selfish that sounds? None of us should have gone because you were unable to go yet, your father didn’t want to go he didn’t want to see it not even for you. Your mother hasn’t taken you – have you even asked her to?
Dr. Monday’s office…first words out of your mouth, “everything I do is a problem with her”, …then yelling at your father, “you’re supposed to stick up for me”. Running around outside with the bowl in your hand. Regardless, you should not have been on the rock with the bowl of ice cream. You should not have brought the plate of food over to the neighbor’s house then leave it there. I won’t criticize you for that because you truly don’t know any better and I guess it could be a matter of opinion. However, would you bring over a dish, a ceramic dish and a glass – all non-disposable kitchenware to a neighbor’s house at your mother’s? Would you really? Or are you just thinking and saying you would so as not to be wrong?
‘Why did you live with your grandmother? I want you to tell me and not She.’ I never told you why, I never said anything. I didn’t bring up that topic, ever. You ask. You ask the questions and sometimes you look at me for the answers, sometimes your dad asks me to explain. For whatever reason you find this troubling. Why?
‘And She said she was massaging your knee and then she said she didn’t, when she did.’ NO I DID NOT. I DID NOT SPEAK THOSE WORDS, EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Stop it Stop it, Stop it. God dammit. You are absolutely positively WRONG. In fact, I have NEVER massaged your father’s knee.
You told me your mother took you to the movies to see ‘The Other Woman’. Approximately 17 minutes into that movie Cameron Diaz says to Leslie Mann, “We had sex, we’re adults”. Down at the shore, you were hanging all over your father at the ice cream store. Your father felt uncomfortable. He has said, on occasion that he feels like you act like his girlfriend….’like a cheap date’. You’ve asked your father many times, ‘why do you want to get married, you have me’. This is an example of ‘INAPPROPRIATE’ ideology but no one will ever say anything because it is taboo. Your father is a man and I am a woman. You are a child. You are his daughter. You cannot fulfil all his needs. If you do not understand that and your mother refuses to discuss it with you then ask Chris because I have attempted to explain it to you a number of times to no avail. It doesn’t matter what I say to you because you just disregard it like I never know what I am talking about or better yet, tell your mother so she can sue your father over it.
You want alone time with your dad but the ONLY time I have ever done something with my daughters without you and your dad while we were away, you had to run to daddy and get upset about it. You get him all riled up because you felt left out. Now your dad’s reaction to it was not your fault, at all. My point is you have been so upset because you feel you do not get enough time alone with your dad yet you won’t give us the same courtesy. I used the word ‘special’. Is this now inappropriate? If I am doing something with my kids that gives you plenty of time alone with your father. Did that ever cross your mind? He takes you on a Wave Runner then blames me for your fear because I mentioned the shark sightings that had been ALL OVER the news?!?
Your dad was running all over trying to get the dog, yelling, ‘help me help me’. I simply said to you, ‘what is the point of everyone running after a dog?’ You had to go tell your dad because you KNEW it would piss him off and you couldn’t wait. You knew he was already worked up because of the dog, then because I wasn’t running with him and telling him what I said was just one more complaint to push him over the edge. Good Job Grace. Does that make you feel good to be the cause of so much arguing?
I told you not to share makeup. Do not share makeup. If you want to share makeup with your friends at your mom’s house, there is nothing I can do about it. I specifically told the three of you….DO NOT SHARE MAKEUP. So what do you do? You ask my daughter for her eyeliner. She reminds you that I said you are not to share makeup. So what do you say? Oh no, it’s ok I don’t have pink eye. Haven’t I repeatedly told you that you can have germs even though you have no symptoms? Did you ask your mother and she said it was OK? Or do you think that you always know more than adults? That is what it seems like. How dare you defy me and put my children at risk for disease. ILLNESS. This is why they have vaccinations for children like you who refuse to abide by rules for safety’s sake. Then when John’s Aunt died, you asked if we had black eyeliner. Again, do not share makeup. If you do not have black eyeliner, then YOU do not have black eyeliner. I have repeatedly said I do not think black eyeliner is flattering on girls your age. So what do you do? You ask your father he says it’s OK for you to wear it yet you do not own black eyeliner. So you specifically tell me that daddy said it was OK. Grace, we are all running around trying to get out of the house, I do not care about your eyeliner. I already said No plus I am not giving you anyone else’s black eyeliner. You snap back at me, ‘I just wanted to let you know’. The entire 2+ hour ride down to a FUNERAL you point out every store that they might have eyeliner in. You expect the five of us to go out of the way of your father’s Aunt’s funeral so that you can get and wear black eyeliner. Doesn’t that seem just a little selfish and self-centered?
The first time we went to Friendly’s do you remember what you said about the waitress? All she did was ask us what we wanted to drink and you whisper to me, ‘doesn’t it seem like people are out of their minds?’ The only one out of their mind was you that day. I told you that wasn’t nice, there was no reason to insult that woman for no reason and when she came back to the table you should find something to compliment her about. So when she returned, I noticed her nails and made a kind, positive comment to you about them because what you said was heartless, pointless and just plain mean.
Are you going to blame me for your crapass attitude toward your teachers, too? Did I somehow inspire you to criticize teachers and how they do nothing after how many years of ‘teaching school’? It’s called college. You are in 6th grade you should know that it is called college and not teaching school. This is what drives me nuts. You say these ignorant things then absolutely refuse to admit when you’re wrong even when faced with the absolute proof.
This letter is the equivalent complaining that you have said about me for the past three years. How do you feel about it Grace? Of the things I mentioned how much of it do you deny? How does it feel when someone just remembers all the negative things they think about you and complains about EVERYTHING. How does it feel when someone accuses you of doing something you feel certain you didn’t do? I have had to hear about it through the courts and from your father because you don’t have the courage to say these things to my face because you don’t want to work things out. You just want your way. You want to be the center of attention, always. Not even attention – you want to be amid the chaos and drama you perpetuate.
You have manipulated your parents, especially your father now that I am not around. You did the same thing three years ago with your mom. You perpetuate the anger and hate when really you are just sad and insecure to begin with. Since I don’t praise you like everyone else in your family does, I am mean. I praise you when you deserve it, but you don’t pay attention to that. You don’t remember that or tell anyone when I say or do something nice. Even in Dr. Monday’s office you were talking about the vacation we were taking to Michigan yet never mentioned that it was my family’s wedding you were going to. You were all excited about a vacation you wouldn’t have been taking if it weren’t for me. This is why your father and I say you are ungrateful at times. You refuse to say anything positive because you are too busy creating drama.

I hope for your sake your mother addresses your learning disability and emotional problems rather than run to DYFS, the cops and the court every time you get upset.

Good Luck

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