A new year was beginning. Marla thought back to this time about three years ago. She felt much more hopeful today.
You see, about three years ago in January, the divorce of Marla's parents became final. It was the last chapter of a very difficult few years. Marla remembered how much her parents argued (fought would be a better word). In some ways, home became more peaceful after they split up. Even so, Marla missed her father terribly. He moved to another state, and she would spend Christmas and several weeks in the summer with him. Life felt empty to Marla - until Peter Dresdale came along.
Marla's mom met Peter about 15 months after her divorce. Marla and her mom had started to attend a new church, and Peter was part of the congregation. Slowly, over time, Peter showed an interest in Marla's mother. They began to go out for lunch with Marla after church. Then, Peter invited Marla's mom out on dates. It'd been a long time since Marla saw her mother so happy. It was a little strange seeing her get all dressed up for dates with someone who wasn't her father!
Peter was a kind man who was always considerate to Marla as well. Sometimes, he would include her in their dates, and they'd all go hiking, horseback riding, or to a movie. Peter had a wonderful sense of humor, and Marla began to enjoy the time with him more and more. He paid attention to what she had to say. He also always encouraged her to stay in touch with her real dad, treat him with respect, and understand how much he probably missed her.
After many months, Marla's mom announced that she and Peter were engaged. Although Marla liked Peter, this made her feel funny. After the wedding, Peter would be moving in with them and become Marla's stepfather. She wondered how she could enjoy her time with him without feeling guilty about not seeing her real dad more often.