I think most people know I've never been married and don't have any biological children, so when I write a headline like that, they wonder; what daughter?

Leah came into my life on August 22, 1982 when my best friend Georgie gave birth to her. I fell in love with her from the moment I saw her sweet face and full head of spiky dark hair. The first time I held her something magical happened to me! A bright light came on in my life! I was transformed from a person who didn't much care for children at all, into a person who loved the one in front of her and longed for some of her own.

As Leah grew, Georgie and I would joke about the fact that by the time I got married and had kids, Leah would be babysitting them. Sadly for me, no relationship ever led to marriage and children wouldn't be a part of my story either, except for the children, (Leah and her brother Mikey) Georgie and her husband Mike allow me to claim as mine. That is how Leah became my daughter.

I have been proud of her accomplishments since she rolled over the first time and that is not likely to change. The moment our relationship as mother and daughter was cemented happened one weekend as I was leaving Georgie and Mike's home at the lake in Yankton. We were standing outside, Georgie holding a one-year-old Leah in her arms, as I turned away to walk to my car.

Georgie called my name and I turned back to see two little arms reaching for me. For me! I scooped Leah into my arms, with tears in my eyes, refusing to leave until I had squished the stuffing out of her and to this day, I can always count on a hug and kiss upon arrival and before leaving. I treasure our lives together and hold the memories like photographs in my mind and heart.

My child loves her family, her fiance, her dogs, her Harley, quad-racing and life. She is beautiful, smart, funny, kind, honest, penny-wise, temperamental sometimes, but most importantly, always loving. She has found someone she deems worthy of sharing these qualities and her life with and I'm wishing them all the love and luck in the world.