We laugh at the same jokes, like to ride in fast cars, sing really loud along with Mick Jagger, team up to do artwork, yearn for a trampoline in the backyard and want to take home every kitten that we see in the pet store.
She looks up to me, mimics my expressions and tone of voice. We have the same shade of blond locks and bright blue eyes. No one would doubt for a second that she wasn't biologically mine. She's not, but I sometimes forget because I never knew before that it was possible to love a child so much. To be so connected in every way to someone who doesn't share my genes. She is my husband's five-year old daughter - my chica.
Last week I picked her up at daycare and she pointed to a sign hanging off of her cubby with a piece of tape. A picture of flowers and hearts drawn in crayon with "I Love You Glamour Girl!" written across the top. My heart melted. I went to take it down to take home with me. "No! You have to leave it there forever so you can see it whenever you pick me up so you know that I love you!"
Tears welled up in my eyes. I looked down at my Chica and her expression suddenly changed, "Mom says I have to make one for her too" as she shrugged her shoulders.
It's not always easy being a step-mother, but I have to keep reminding myself that it's not biology that makes someone a mother - it's the quality of the relationship and the connection of the people involved. Soulmates often come in a different form than you expected and I was lucky to find one of mine last year in this beautiful little girl.