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This baby girl. I shouldn’t love her like I do. But, I do. She’s not mine. Yet, I feel like she is. Or, maybe I feel like I am hers. 

Three years ago I got remarried to a man with a young adult daughter. I immediately felt adoration for this daughter who wasn’t mine. But coming along later in her life, I knew my expectations must be kept safely in check. She already had a mother. She even had a stepmother before me. Her heart must have been familiar with breaks I had yet to know at her tender age. 

I was content with a burgeoning friendship, which is all I believed I could rightly expect. After all, I had my own two sons. They owned my heart. There wasn’t room for any more love. I was wrong. 

This bonus daughter became pregnant. She soon had a daughter of her own. A spitting image of what I imagine she looked like as a baby. I didn’t know. I wasn’t there. I knew I would be enamored with this brand-new, innocent life. And I was. But I had absolutely no idea the depth of that well of love. I honestly didn’t think it was possible. After all, she wasn’t mine. I didn’t deserve to feel that deeply for a child who wasn’t biologically part of my DNA. But I did. And I do. 

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This little 2-year-old has absolutely captured my heart. I feel an adoration for her I honestly cannot comprehend. I mean, I felt this depth with my own sons. But that was natural. Inherent. Biological. I couldn’t help falling in love.

But this girl. Do I even have the right to care for her as much as I do? She is my husband’s first grandbaby. A special birthright no other soul can rightly claim. The way he looks at her melts my heart. She softens him. She makes him positively giddy. That is natural. That is his right and he proudly lives up to the hype of an over-indulgent grandpa. 

But me? I don’t deserve to feel this incredible growing bond. She’s not mine. Yet, I do. It happens when I am with her. It happens when we are apart. She has positively captivated me with her spell. I didn’t know I was capable of such love. Fondness. Gratitude. She softens me too. This young precious baby girl single-handedly expanded my heart. She allowed me to love every bit as much as though she were mine. 

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Maybe it doesn’t matter that we are not biologically related. Maybe it doesn’t mean anything that she has two other grandmothers that (in my mind) have more rights to her than I do. Maybe God allows certain souls to imprint on our hearts despite biology, what makes sense, and a rightful and traditional definition of family. Perhaps this much-loved little girl came, amongst immeasurable other reasons, to bridge a gap. To defy the love only allowed in traditional familial relationships. To draw two separate families together and truly bond them as one. Maybe this precious child is the miracle I prayed for when I found out the two babies I believed to be mine didn’t live long enough to be held in my arms this side of Heaven. 

Maybe this girl is capable of healing so many hurts, just by revealing her adorable, witty, captivating smile. She is special. So very special. She may not be mine in the sense the world would define. But I am all hers. Irrevocably destined to love and protect this precious soul. There is undeniably and mysteriously no question of my love for this child. I don’t understand it. I can’t adequately explain it. But it is real. It is beautifully real. 

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Manndi Maphies Wilkins

I am a boy momma of two, who works at a School of Pharmacy and enjoys freelance writing on the side. I enjoy sharing my daily adventures as a (former) single mom with anyone who will read them. Life is full of ups…and downs…and then more ups. The joy is in the journey and if others find my journey humorous, relatable, and inspiring, I will never quit sharing it! So happy to connect with such an inspiring group of writers!

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