Cinderella’s step-mother was evil. She made poor Cinderella cook, clean, and sew. She did all she could do to prevent Cinderella from attending the ball in hopes of one of her own daughters winning the heart of the prince. Then the step-mother locked Cinderella in a closet to keep the prince from finding the perfect match to the forgotten shoe. She was mean and selfish.
This is not Anne Wakefield, mother of four and step-mother of two. Instead, Anne is sweet and selfless. She’s a hard worker—a sheep and horse farmer, as well as a physical therapist—but she always makes time for her children, step-children or otherwise.
Anne had three kids with her first husband: Lisa, Jimmy and Mark. Unfortunately, the marriage didn’t go well. Her husband insisted on living in Sweden, and he made all the decisions. Anne felt trapped. She had to get out; she wanted to return to her parents and sister in Minnesota for support.
That’s where she met her second husband. Anne said, “I knew I loved him when he said I should follow my dreams. My dreams!” When she married Charlie, her three kids and his two daughters were the bridesmaids and groomsmen. “It wasn’t just a union for the two of us,” Anne said. “All seven of us came together.”
Anne’s two step-daughters lived with Anne and Charlie on the weekends. The five kids got along well. They played Nerf ping-pong in the dining room. They had pinball tournaments. “Sometimes Charlie and I would rearrange the furniture in the living and dining rooms to create obstacle courses. The kids would take turns, and we would time them. Jimmy was always the fastest, but one night, the kids got Charlie and me to participate.” Anne smiled and said, “I could hold my own.”
“Even more fun,” she said, “was hitching the horses to the sleigh and delivering cookies with the kids. The five of them would carol from house to house. We even had jingle bells.” Anne didn’t categorize the kids—her three kids and her two step-daughters. “People,...