My Emma is my world. She is everything that I am or am not, all wrapped into a beautiful mess of (almost) 11 year old sass and attitude. She is, at times, very much a little carbon copy of myself and yes, that absolutely terrifies me. I had a very….tumultuous life during my teenage and young adult life and just the thought of her going through even a quarter of that terrifies me. While she does remind me of myself in a lot of ways though, she is completely different than I was at that age in a lot of ways.
To look at her, you’d never know that the first 5 years of her life were extremely hard. Her biological father basically walked out of her life at 2. She lost a stepfather that she considered her Dad at 5 (his choice). We moved around…a lot. There’s more that I won’t get into here on the blog, but it all finally culminated with she and I spending a large portion of 2010 in a homeless shelter 800 miles from our family. The day we left that shelter, I made two promises; one to myself and more importantly, one to her.
I don’t make promises often. I’m of the opinion that too many people promise things too easily so more often than not when a promise is broken, trust in that person is too. Emma’s trust in me is the one thing I never want to treat lightly so she knew when I made that promise that I would move Heaven and Earth to make sure I kept it. My promise to her was that she would never be without a home again. She worried about that for so long. Living in a shelter is hard enough on an adult, but doing it as a child is worse, even if you can’t see the damage on the outside. The other promise I made was to myself. I promised that I would live life to the fullest, that I would live turn things around for us, that I would learn to be what I needed to be instead of settling for less, that I would live in a way that fulfilled me to live my best life…for her.
It’s been 5 years since I made those two promises and so far, I’ve kept them. I’ll be completely honest and admit that at times, it hasn’t been easy to keep that promise to myself. Life gets in the way of living fully sometimes, but there is always a way. Living life at its fullest can mean different things to different people though, but for me? It’s teaching my daughter to be what I am not. It’s teaching her to grow in mind, body and spirit. It is teaching her to love all without questions or judgement. It’s teaching her the skills that she will need once she’s on her own and leaves home and of course, it’s having fun. Lots and lots of fun.
We’ve got a long way to go, but you know what? We’re having a blast getting there!
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