A woman refused to treat her stepdaughter like her own until her father decided to reveal a photo he had stashed over 42 years ago, which showed their stories weren’t so different from one another.
Cindy was happily married to Jack, with whom she had a son named Michael, who was six years old. They also had a daughter named Jeni, one year and six months older than Michael.
It was evident that Cindy would always put Michael first through the years. She would allow him to play video games when he got home from school while Jeni busied herself with household chores such as washing the dishes and sorting out the laundry.
Jeni never understood why her mother treated her differently, but she accepted it. She thought maybe it was because she was a woman, and in a stereotypical setting, women were supposed to be responsible for things at home.
However, it came to a point where other people started to notice the difference in how Cindy treated her two children. During Cindy’s dad’s birthday, Jeni was forbidden to join the party until all the chores had been finished.
While Jeni watered the flowers in her room, the party was in full swing. Downstairs, Cindy gave her father a beautifully framed photo collage of their photos as she grew up. “I love you, dad. I’m proud of you for working so hard, and I’m lucky to be your daughter,” she said, hugging him again.
In the pictures, Cindy hugged her dad, posed as they walked, and skateboarded. They were photos from a distant past and some very recent pictures she had printed at the photo store.
Meanwhile, Jack was concerned with his daughter Jeni and decided to check on her. “Are you alright in here, sweetheart?” he asked his daughter.
Jeni was asked to finish her chores before she could join the party downstairs. | Source: Pexels
Jeni nodded, saying she had finished all the chores Cindy had asked her to do. Jack felt bad for her daughter having to do chores during a party, but he chose to keep quiet about it.
Instead, he held her hand and lead her to the party where she hugged her grandfather and handed him a flower. Cindy saw this, and she was mad after realizing the young girl had picked out a flower from one of the pots she’d watered a couple of minutes prior. However, she chose not to say anything as there were guests in their home.
Realizing that many people were watching, Cindy offered Jeni a piece of cake. After realizing there was very little left, she cut off a very large piece for Michael before giving the leftovers to Jeni. “Girls don’t eat as much as boys anyway,” Cindy shrugged as she handed the plate to Jeni.
Jeni was upset, as it was her favorite cake. The slice given to her was so tiny that she could eat it in three bites. “Daddy, Cindy cheated me again,” she complained.
After hearing this, Jack himself became upset, but not because of what had happened. “Jeni,” he told her. “How often do I have to tell you to call Cindy, mom?”
“But she’s not my mom!” Jeni yelled. Cindy overheard her and ordered her son to go to bed. The party went from being fun to a total disaster.
Jack and Cindy went upstairs and fought. “Why do you always put Michael over Jeni?” he asked her.
“Isn’t it obvious? Michael is my biological son. Jeni is my stepdaughter. She’s not my child. She’s yours,” Cindy shot back.
“How can you say that, Cindy? Jeni is as much your child as she is mine. We raised her together! When we got together and got married, we vowed to be together through whatever. Our children are a part of that,” Michael said, accusing her.
Cindy and Jack argued after the party as to why Cindy didn’t treat Jeni like her own daughter. | Source: Pexels
“How can I accept a child who reminds me of your ex-lover? How do you think that makes me feel? Every day, I am reminded that before me, there was another woman you were head-over-heels in love with, and you two have a child!” Cindy yelled.
“You already knew I had Jeni before you accepted my marriage proposal. She is my non-negotiable. How will this marriage ever work if you can’t accept her as your daughter?” Jack said, shutting the door behind him.
Cindy was irritated, left alone in the hallway. She went back down, where she saw her father sitting alone at the dinner table with a cup of coffee in his hand.
She sat across him and said: “Why should I treat a child that isn’t even mine as if she were my child?”
“You should treat Jeni like your daughter, too,” her dad, Peter, told her.
Peter told his daughter to treat Jeni like her own daughter. | Source: Pexels
“You don’t understand, dad. You’ve never had a stepdaughter,” she replied.
Suddenly, Cindy’s father sighed. “Actually, I do know what it’s like to raise someone who isn’t my own blood,” he admitted.
The old man then walked to the living room and opened the chest in front of the TV. He took out an old photo of a young couple. “I’ve kept this photograph in here for 42 years. I think it’s about time I tell you the truth,” he said, handing Cindy the photo.
At this point, Cindy was confused. She was an only child, and she was starting to think she had a sibling after what her father had just told her.
“The truth is, Cindy, I am not your biological father. You see, I dated this woman when I was in my twenties. She was already with child, and yet, I loved her so much that I accepted her for all she was,” he explained.
Peter admitted that he was not Cindy’s biological father. | Source: Pexels
“One day, that woman fell ill. She succumbed to her illness and died. That woman was your mother, Cindy,” Peter admitted. “When she died, I had already been taking care of you for three years. I already loved you dearly and vowed to take care of you for as long as I lived,” Peter said, looking at Cindy straight in the eye to show his sincerity.
“I wanted you to grow up with love and care, so I raised you as a single parent. I worked day and night to give you a bright future, and I’m glad to see you happy and successful. I am sorry I never told you the truth. I just didn’t have the heart to,” Peter said, apologizing for only telling Cindy the truth now.
Cindy was in tears. She never knew that the person who raised her was not her blood relative, and yet she never felt like an outsider with him. “You are my family, dad,” Cindy told him. “Thank you for choosing to raise me, and thank you for loving me,” she cried.
Cindy and Peter shared a warm embrace after that conversation. Then Cindy realized she needed to apologize to someone after her dad made her realize that being someone’s child doesn’t necessarily have to mean being blood relatives.
Cindy and her dad Peter continued to share a close bond with each other. | Source: Pexels
She went up to Jeni’s room and saw her quietly reading a book in bed. “I’m sorry for how I’ve treated you in the past couple of years, Jeni,” Cindy cried.
Jeni looked up at Cindy, curious as to why she suddenly had a change of heart. “It’s alright,” she told her stepmom. “I understand why you prioritize Michael. It’s because I’m not your real daughter.”
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