Austin…I was not there when you took your first steps or when your first tooth came in. However, I’ve been so proud to be with you on as many of your firsts as I was able, in our time together. Proms, and driving lessons, driver’s licenses and first car, recitals, your first dates with Ciara, late night talks and future planning, college, birthdays and holidays. I’ve been so grateful to share these things and so many more with you. I have cherished every moment of our relationship together. You have touched my heart in so many ways you will never understand.
As I watched you join your life with your new bride, today, and promise to be at her side, and she by yours through whatever life may bring….I realized that this is another key moment that I will never forget. You are making one of the most important and life altering decisions of your life. It feels like a passage for me as well – though I am not quite sure how to name it. I just know that I feel it in my bones and I only know it is big … and how proud I am of you … and how much I love you … and how blessed I am by who you have become … and how honored I have been to be your step mom. I’m proud of the choices you’ve made, and the determination of you and all of our children to form a strong and loving family. I’m proud of how hard you’ve worked to make your successes happen. I’m proud of the choice you’ve made in your life partner, Ciara (couldn’t be happier). And I admit….today was bittersweet. I watched your young faces glowing and I couldn’t help but know that all of our lives are changing once again. Your lives will revolve around one another, as they should, and we will watch from the sidelines proudly… but we are beyond sad to lose our day to day time with you.
It’s not my job as a step mom to replace anyone, I decided that a long time ago. Back then…I wondered what my job, my place, was. I decided it was my place to support you, to role model the attributes of a strong, trustworthy woman, to be your safe place, and to love you unconditionally. Today, I have no doubt that I succeeded based on your choices. I cannot even begin to tell you how good that makes me feel.
I know you and Ciara will go out into the world as strong partners with and for one another. She will be your safe place and you will be hers. Evan and I will be here to back you both up in your endeavors. We will always be here for you both, because we love you and we are beyond grateful to have you both in our lives. I want you to remember this as you go forward. Sometimes in life, you get to choose your family. I was honored to choose you. Today, you chose a big part of your family for your adult life. Cherish that choice.