This last month has been a roller coaster. As you may recall, in my last post, I was both happy and hating everyone who easily gets pregnant. Again, thrilled for my friends who are starting and expanding their families, but sad and angry at my own body’s inability to produce a single child.
Well, things have changed a bit in the last month. In the middle of February, I learned that my 17-year-old cousin would be getting out of boot camp, and both her dad and I worried about her going right back into the environment she came from and getting right back into the same old trouble. Especially when part of her family is the reason she started getting into trouble in the first place. My sweet husband and I decided to offer her a place to stay with us, in order to get her into a better situation going forward. We wanted to give her the opportunity to start a new life away from the drugs, crime and everything else that she has had to deal with over her short lifetime.
So, when she graduated early from boot camp, she came home with me. We set her up with her own bedroom and bathroom (which means now Paul and I have to SHARE one… a total sacrifice) and we were so happy to get her here and see what we could do to help her move forward.
And I am not going to lie. This kid has had it ROUGH. I won’t get into all of the details, but in my 37 years I haven’t even heard of half the stuff she was doing, and what I do understand makes me sick, and a bit stabby towards the people who made it/allowed it to happen, when they should have been protecting her from all of this shit.
But, y’all, going from a non-mom to a psuedo-mom to a 17-year-old who has never had boundaries is TOUGH. And I’m a tough cookie. My mom was strict growing up, and we learned respect and boundaries like you should. I expect the same from any kid that I deal with. My 6-year-old niece knows exactly what she can and cannot do when she is with me, and she is perfectly fine with that. Because she understands what this kid does not – My rules are here to keep you safe.
Lexie was my little sweetie before I ever had a niece of my own. Her dad is my first cousin, so I spent quite a bit of time watching her when she was little. Before her mother moved her away to the land of meth. She has always held a special place in my heart and I have always regretted that I didn’t try to take her in sooner, because I saw this path coming for her at 9 years old. I knew it would only be a matter of time. But at the time, I was having enough difficulty in my own world that I just couldn’t do it. I regret it every day, but it is what it is.
Maybe we were a little naive thinking that she would just mesh in perfectly when she came here. And I’m not an idiot. Two degrees in psychology taught me that there would definitely be challenges and battles with this kid, who has seen and done so much. But it has been both rewarding and absolutely aggravating at the same time. I am pretty sure this is why we don’t give birth to teenagers. Most parents have a lot of years to work up to instilling values before they get to the butthead teenager stage. Mine was made in a matter of hours and it challenges me every day.
She can go from complete sweetheart to psychotic child in 2.3 seconds flat, as happened tonight. Most of the time I try to stay understanding, and stand my ground. Sometimes, I fail. Miserably. Tonight was a complete fail. Tonight, after dealing with such a mood swing that I think I got whiplash, I just broke down.
Not in front of her, of course. Oh no. I left her room fuming after she once again attacked me when I didn’t immediately give in to whatever she wanted. I have bent over backwards for this kid, rearranging my entire life to meet her needs. And honestly, tonight I am over it. I asked a simple question, and she attacked me. Accused me of not wanting her here. Made me feel like I don’t like her.
Guess what, kid? I know your game. You WANT me to throw you away, like so many before you. You want to be the victim again instead of growing up and taking charge of your life. Then you will have someone to blame besides yourself when you fuck it all up again. But the fact is if I didn’t want her here… she wouldn’t be here. I want her to succeed, but I am not going to do it for her. I am not going to be guilted into doing things that I don’t want to do, nor will I be goaded into a fight with a sulky, bratty over-grown kid who doesn’t know when to keep her mouth shut.
Tomorrow, she will have to make a choice. To stay here, live by the rules designed to keep her safe, or to throw it all away and go back to the land of the meth whores. I am done battling with someone who doesn’t appreciate what we have offered. We have a hard enough time making it from month to month without another person looking for something every time we blink. If she thinks I am getting any financial reward from this, she is crazy. So, as much as I love her, and as much as I want her to succeed, it is time for her to take the steps necessary to get her life on track.
So, as much as I want to punch a wall tonight, I know better (and would most likely just leave a whole in my rental house AND break my fist). Tonight, I blogged it out, instead. Tough love is all I have to give her right now. And she might hate it. But one day, soon I hope, she will get that someone cared enough about her to give her that chance. If not, that is on her.
PS – My dog Lucy hates her. Her frantic energy is just too much for my poor little pup to handle. But, the awesome part is that I don’t have to worry about her sneaking out during the middle of the night, as any time she moves, the Lucy Alarm goes off. Sucker!
I can empathize with you, my friend. As you remember, I had a Goddaughter in a similar situation that I tried to help… on several occasions. Unfortunately some habits can be too deep-seeded, becoming reactions entrenched within the psyche of an eternally hurting and frightened child that are near impossible to heal with love alone. Sometimes the best thing we can do for someone like this- a person we love but are seemingly powerless to help, no matter how hard we try- is to let them go, and have faith that the message will get through to them by some other way. Seeds take time to grow.
It may be a month, or a year, or many years. It may take a few more run-ins with the law, or even some greater consequence, but she has to hit rock-bottom sometime. And when she’s there… when she takes that leap of faith and chooses to turn away from old habits, you’ll be there. Smiling.
Thank you, my sweet friend. That helps a lot. I know I can’t save her if she doesn’t want to be saved, but I know for my own heart I have to give it my best shot to show her another way to live and what love really looks like. Hopefully she gets it.