My husband has been a part of our lives for about 2.5 years now. I say our life, because big L and I had a life before him. We had almost a year without her father before my husband came into our lives. It was slow going at first. Hard going at times. Big L did not like men, and to this day still has some trepidation around grown men she does not know. We have tried to provide her with positive male role models, and lots of love to help her trust again.
Apparently we have been successful, and I am relieved and happy about this. A few weeks ago she decided it would be okay to admit that my husband is her step-dad. This has taken a lot of work. I told her when she started school, that it was okay if she didn't want to call him step-dad when talking to others, but that adults will naturally refer to him as such. She would simply get mad when someone else said step-dad. After her sister was born (we never call them half-sisters, just sisters), my husband became dad to little l, and big L has slowly become aware that she wants in on his fatherly love, not just his mom's husband who loves and takes care of me love.
She and her sister crawl over him like a jungle gym, they struggle to both fit in his lap for snuggle time, and even if she won't say it, and doesn't like to admit it, L and I both know that she truly loves her step-dad and feels safe and secure in the home he and I have created for her and her sister.
Take Saturday for instance. I need more sleep than most. Just something I need, so he lets me sleep in most weekend days. He entertains both girls, gets them breakfast, and tries to keep them from screaming at the top of their lungs. Usually when I do get up big L velcros herself to me and won't let go. Today she would rather spend time outside with step-dad, exploring and watching him work on the yard. I went out for a bit, but my eyes started itching and nose started running, so in I came. Allergies, ugh. She stayed out for a bit. I asked if she wanted to water our plants with him or me, and she said him.
The next big development is the Girl Scout father/daughter dance for our neighborhood. I explained to L that she could go with whichever male family member she chose. We discussed the options and she said that step-dad is more fun, and she would rather go with him, not her father.
Needless to say I am thrilled by this development. I am so happy that she finally feels safe and secure and willing to share me and herself with others. We must be doing something right! However, after almost seven years of having L attached to me, there is a little sadness in the happiness.