I’m writing this one from your mom’s place. It’s bedtime, and you do a better job of falling asleep when I stay in your room in the rocking chair. We’re doing this thing right now where, during the week, our visits happen at your mom’s place instead of ours. In some ways it’s a holdover from when you were a littler kid and it would have been too much driving to bring you across town and then back the next morning. I suspect, by the time you read any of these letters, your mom and I will have tried several different arrangements. I hope you’ll feel like we were trying our best to give you lots of time in both homes, without making you feel like a ping pong ball. I also hope ping pong will still be a thing, and that we will play.
You’re an even bigger kid now, and in a few weeks you start kindergarten. Two weeks ago you read a book to me cover to cover for the first time. Last week you rode a really-for-real-not-pretend pony, and told half of Centre Island that you were a cowgirl. You also conned another kid’s grandmother out of a piece of watermelon. You can talk to strangers with less shyness now, but after a day full of people, you get that same quietness that I do, and explain to me that you’re all out of words, and need to rest your voice.
I think you mostly don’t yet know that not everyone has a Missy. You’ve probably never really heard the word stepmom, or at least not processed it. Sometimes you’ll correct people who call her your mom, and say, “That’s not my mom. That’s my Missy.” It’s a very matter-of-fact thing, though; it’s not biting. We’re both braced for the first time it is. I had my share of step parents growing up, but there’s still not much advice I can give her: you’re not her mom, but you’re not her fun aunt, either; care for her, love her, be able to set and enforce rules, and find your own kind of relationship. She knows those things. She thinks about them a lot, and talks with other stepmoms. We both do. I don’t know if you do. You make it seem easy. She’s your Missy, and that’s just fine. Thanks for that.
It’s time for me to head home. You just sighed the most beautiful sigh which is how I know that you’ve conked out. You couldn’t sleep for a while because you had Rainbow Dash in your bed, and you wanted Twilight Sparkle. Later in life I will tease you about this.
Love you, wonderful girl,