I’m at the end of my rope and yet I am more relieved than I have been for a long time. The cloud has lifted and I can see clearly again. The sunshine is back in my life. The pressure in my chest is gone and my eye—thank goodness—has stopped twitching.

I am at peace with what I am about to say to you.

You see, parenting children is one of the hardest jobs on earth if you want to give it your best. You had one parent check out already, so I wasn’t going to let that happen. I gave it my all, but now I am at the end of my rope.

Every end of a rope has a beginning and ours started way back in the past—August of 1998. I’ll never forget that bald-headed baby with that headband that had a pink bow, covered in a pink blanket in that pink and white car seat. Pink was the theme in case you couldn’t tell. I am utterly blessed and glad I was given the opportunity to have an impact on your life and had the privilege to shape you a little.

We lived a military life throughout your childhood and that wasn’t always easy. Living so far away from you most of the time and then visiting you or vice versa wasn’t cheap either, but we made the best of it.

Daddy and I always make the best of it. Whatever it is.

I know how it is to start anew in a new country, state, town, or military post. I know how it is to have no friends or family close by, make new friends, and trying to fit in somewhere. It’s hard, but it is important to always stay true to you and to have integrity. It will follow you wherever you go.

Daughter, I know how it is to love another woman’s children. It wasn’t required when I said “yes” to Daddy, but I chose to say yes to him and his family, so for me it was something I wanted to do with all of my heart.

Your mom didn’t want me to, but I chose to love you. And you know what? You were easy to love. You were cute, just so very small and my heart . . . adorable. You stole my heart and held on to it. I hoped forever, but I am going to leave that up to you now.

I know I made the best of the little time we got. I tried my hardest to raise you, to parent you, to show you right from wrong. I wanted to prove to you that I am your step-mom, but this was no fairytale. I was real and my love was real. I love you with all of my heart, not just part of it.

I gave it my best. I’m sure of it. But I honestly thought your moving in with us would go WAY differently. Brené Brown would say, I made up a story in my head and while it didn’t happen as I had imagined, I am still glad we had the time together.

Please know, every time I said “no” to something it was because we love you. When I pushed you to be more and do more, it was because I love you. Every time we took away your phone, it was because we love you. When we picked you up early at a friend’s house, it was because we love you. We helped you graduate early, because we love you. We didn’t judge you when you thought you were gay, because we love you. We didn’t stop loving you when we noticed that you gravitate towards lying as your first defense. We tried to give you wings and supported your gap year, because we love you. We always tried to keep you from harm. Out of love.

We continue to love you even as you walked out, so you could do what you want. I’m not going to lie, it hurt and I didn’t understand, but I see it clearly now. You’re stubborn and shortsighted and you want what you want, so go get it!

Go for it. Do what you want. Live where you want. Love who you want.

I know I gave it my best and I know you are trying to as well.

Your best and my best just look different.

I am not sorry for all the times I yelled and swore like a sailor. You can try to be better than me when you have children. I cried and I explained A LOT—I know. It’s because I love you and just wanted you to hear me. Often I felt like a fish out of water and it is because I was your age before, but never my age. I was just trying my best to raise another woman’s child.

Kiddo, now I am at the end of my rope. That’s why I am letting go. You are 20 years old. I am ready to let you go. Experiences—good and bad—will shape you as you finish growing up. You will rise and/or fall. It’s up to you.

I am taking off my armor and I am leaving the arena. Peace and harmony are more important to me than winning the battle. It has created a distance I am not comfortable with.

It destroys love—all the love I have fought hard for. I don’t want that.

I am at the end of my rope, daughter-mine, so remember what we have tried to teach you and please, remember this:

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You are on your own.
You know what you know.
And YOU are the one who’ll decide where you go. (Dr. Seuss, Oh The Places You’ll Go)

I will love you forever.
I will like you for always.
As long as I’m living, my daughter you’ll be. (Robert Munsch)

Be safe. Always.

Goodbye little mouse.


Nina Leicht-Crist

Nina Leicht-Crist was born and raised in Southern Germany. Midwifery has been a lifelong passion, though after a long agonizing battle with (in)fertility, she quit working in prenatal and maternity care to pursue a career in writing and translating from home, so she could stay at home and raise her miracle babies. In 2017 Nina self-published an autobiography titled "Love, Faith & Infertility - a story of hope and special forces" hoping it would give someone the strength to keep going on their path to parenthood. It is available on Amazon.