Tomorrow, May 24th, marks the final milestone to let go of in the adolescent journey of my step-daughter. A child I loved since I first met her at age 7, whom I treated as my own as she spent summers with us, whom I fought for from 2005 forward, helping her father to save her from an unraveling world. A child whom I was mommy to when her biological mother went so terribly wrong. The daughter I never gave birth to but whom filled my heart with love. A young woman who now gets to decide who she becomes each day, who will determine her own destiny versus being torn apart by biological parents who have yet so much to learn about unconditional love, grace and positive living. Tomorrow she graduates from High School, from a school system I was deeply involved in up until such time as I had to show tough love last September. Tough love that hurt us both but that had to be done.
|Jennifer when she was 9 years old during a day trip to DC, enjoying the museums.|
|Jennifer, 2nd from the left, at her 8th grade Halloween Dance|
Despite her father perpetuating a controlling wedge deeper between us after I left him in 2009, despite his pouring salt on our open wounds, she will overcome this part of her life, especially my absence from the balance of her senior year. We had prom together last year and six months of togetherness on our own with little influence from him from last March to September, time wherein she got a small taste of how good life could be if she'd just be fearless enough to let go of the past. To let go of the bad examples set by the addicts, sociopaths, abusers and those living in denial who couldn't love themselves let alone her.
|Jennifer enjoying her rec soccer days. Her coach ran out of awards so she scored a horse badge instead.|
|Tristan and Jennifer in Delaware at a fall boy scout function.|
|Facebook post from Jenny to me after Mother's Day 2013|
The Monday after Mother's Day (last week) she started reaching out again via text messages. Her intent was to have my 99 year old grandfather at her graduation. He's unable to go given his recent health issue and my aunt already had plans (she's who would've taken him). Although my aunt never heard from her about her intent, the fact that she was thinking about butting heads with her father one last time to allow that man the chance to see her graduation made me smile. She would of risked everything having him there with my Aunt, her drivers license before 18, the roof over her head, her summer until her July 1st 18th birthday, all to give this man a memory of her. Grandpa Mo is still with us and hopefully she'll see him soon. Gratefully, he's out of the hospital at home resting and enjoying life again, where he should be. There were also other intentions in her communications, intentions I wish to believe in and will wait on time to prove. As I told her, when you're 18 you'll have the chance to earn my friendship, you will always have my love.
|Jen showing off her 11th grade awards at the end of the school year.|
|Junior Prom with Grandpa Mo|
|Senior night Spring 2013 soccer season|
This summer will be my own 20 year high school graduation. Thanks to social media I'm able to keep up with the classmates from my 350+ graduating class that I bonded with. I have a feeling she'll be connected to Rappahannock for life and I'm grateful she had the opportunity to grow roots there these last six years. Sixty-two lives that will be with her forever. Sixty-two lives who helped her to become who she is today.
|Samantha and Jennifer 8th grade graduation ceremony - on to high school they went!|
|Jennifer's 17th birthday party with friends from church and town last summer.|