Yes, your honor, I do solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about my step-daughter’s preposterous allegations of child abuse.
Of course it’s an alias, Cinderella is as made up as Snoop Lion! Her real name is Tiffany. Dramatic, uncooperative, and constant problems at school, you know, the kind who could end up on Sixteen and Pregnant without careful adult supervision. But I prayed on it, and I asked Him to help me help her. I trusted that my new husband and I could work together to create a new family.
Yes, they’re both special needs. Ginny is an airborn. She has a severe, life-threatening peanut allergy, and even another child who has eaten peanuts and then coughs on her could kill her. That little hooligan Ryan Hodinott did just that, and left her gasping for air like a goldfish that flopped outside of its bowl. Now I homeschool her for her own safety. And SaraBeth has low-muscle tone. She’s in fifth grade but stands and walks at only a first grade level. My late first husband, rest his soul, barely moved from the couch to the fridge, so I suppose it’s genetic.
I really tried to connect with Tiffany, I did. But since I don’t drink, do drugs, or go on Tinder for fun we don’t have much in common. She just laughed at me when I invited her to join us for 7 AM Sunday worship. I asked for her help around the house, I admit. William travels a lot for work, and I have chronic back pain. Try scrubbing a shower when your third vertebra is in flames, I dare you. I tried to make it fun for her to do her share. I created a chore chart with a point system, and doing extra chores could earn her money, so she wouldn’t have to shoplift nail polish. Plus my hands were already so full, between homeschooling my girls and my online dog care supply business, Great Puggspectations.
So I swear, it was all normal, reasonable housecleaning. Tiffany was most certainly not cleaning for hours and hours each day, or waiting on anybody. Unless you count helping SaraBeth get dressed. That child cannot manage tights on her own, they just require too grip strength. Maybe next year, Lord willing, but we focus on the positives. Now what Tiffany is really worked about, if she’d stop lying for two seconds altogether, is that I forbade her go to the prom dressed like a stripper.
No, of course not, but I’ve seen enough episodes of How I Met Your Mother to know what they look like. I don’t know why I love that Barney. It was a blink and you miss it skirt, and those see-through platform heels. I sent her to her room, only to find her sneaking back through the garage just after midnight, missing a shoe. But that was nothing compared to the next day, when I snooped on her text messages.
A picture of some man holding her other shoe.
Strategically, if you understand me, because he didn’t have a stitch on.
He was looking for her, and she was planning to meet him! That’s when I lost it. I panicked, so I took away her hotlines to temptation. I took her phone, her laptop, and her yoga DVDs and locked them in the trunk of my Tercel. Then I marched her up to her room, and told her she could either clean up her act and stay with her loving family, or I would send her to Transitions, that rehab center in the city. I left her to think about it, while I went downstairs to relieve some of my stress with Candy Crush. That’s when I discovered my phone was missing. She must have snatched it out of my back pocket when I hugged her.
Pastor Ray. He knew I’d never use that kind of language on Facebook, and that I wasn’t single and “desperate to get laid so I can stop being such a” – b-word. You can imagine my surprise when the police arrived, asking if Tiffany was being held against her will. And the hateful, hateful things she said about me, I don’t even want to repeat them.
Step-mother, yes, wicked, no. So as you can see, I have done my best with this wayward child, and have suffered like Job. Tiffany, I am very angry with you but I do forgive you. And I think you should remember that if your own mother hadn’t overdosed, she’d have abused you a whole lot more than I ever could.