You’ve probably got your head stuck in another Minecraft video right now, so I need you to tear yourself away from YouTube for a few minutes. I promise this won’t take long and then you can get back to what you were watching – just one final video before cleaning your bedroom, ok? I know you’re rolling your ten-year old eyes at me while reading this but you know the deal: chores equal pocket-money.
You and your dad are my world, I’ve told you that often enough. You make being a stepmum more easy than I deserve but sometimes, it’s more difficult than you’ll ever understand. It’s so hard to watch you feel the need to compare yourself to everyone around you and see you crushed when you consider yourself lacking; then even harder to hear you say you don’t believe us when we tell you just how awesome you are.
There are so many amazing things about you and maybe me putting them into words for all the world to see will finally convince you of them. I know part of you will blush and moan at me for being ’embarrassing’ but hopefully the other part will forgive me, and finally start to realise what makes you so special. I’m willing to take that risk.
One area you should never compare yourself to others in is imagination. You’re more imaginative than anyone I’ve ever known and you’ve been making up your own stories since the day we first met. Remember how we were supposed to go to the supermarket to buy supplies for a picnic, but instead you had me running around the aisles with you while hiding from your dad? We were the brave soldiers and he was the enemy. He wasn’t best pleased when he finally found us hiding underneath rack of dresses in the clothing section, but it was kind of funny.
Now you’re getting older, you’re starting to make up plots for video games and keep your ideas for them in your notebook – and I appreciate the fact you’ve added a particular character to some of them, a female protagonist who’s clever and kicks butt at the same time. Maybe one day we can sit down together to write a post about all your plans and share them with everyone.
Those worlds exist inside your head only. Nobody else can create the stories you do or send us on the wild adventures you come up with. Don’t ever change and let that spark die because I tell you what, kid: it’s going to take you to all sorts of wonderful places when you get older.
Stop comparing yourself to those you watch on YouTube and getting frustrated when you can’t complete a game as quickly as they appear to do. Stop worrying when your friends at school tell you they’re better gamers and you’re so far behind them. Those YouTubers edit their videos but they can’t edit real life; and it’s highly likely your friends are fibbing when they shout about how great they are. (Also, if they really are playing Call of Duty at the age of ten, someone needs to have an urgent word with their parents and tell them they need to spend more time with their kids).
Video games are meant to be fun and we each play for all sorts of reasons – winning is only a small part of it. Your dad plays because he likes exploring every part of a game and looking for secret objects and trophies. I like getting wrapped up in the stories and trying to figure out what’s going to happen next. And you, I know you like pretending to be the characters and making them a part of your next plot. In fact, most people I know enjoy video games for reasons other than winning – maybe I’ll share them in another letter to you soon.
I know it’s hard but try to push all those doubts to one side and just keep being you. Keep playing video games, keep having fun, and keep creating your fantastical stories. Your dad and I think you’re awesome just the way we are, and the world wouldn’t be as bright a place without your wonderful imagination.
We’re proud of you.
All my love,
Your stepmum x