Can you remember all the dumb things you did as a teenager? All the stuff that should have either landed you in jail or kept you grounded until Senior Graduation? Goodness, I remember, but the sad part is I got caught. Like that one time when the cops brought me home at age 15 because I had been drinking and was stupid enough to take the breathalyzer when everyone told me "Don't do it!!" I thought I could beat that damn machine - boy, was I ever wrong. End result: grounded for a month.
Or the time I snuck out of the house to see my boyfriend and got caught. Little do they know I did it A LOT and only got caught once. Take that, mother! BUT, end result: grounded for a LONG time.
It's things like that, that I love to think about. It's who I thought I was at the time. It was a way to show my independence, a way to rebel - that's what teenagers are supposed to do for Pete's sake. They drive their parents crazy until they go off to college. Then they slowly mature and become fast friends with the parents they thought were their enemies in the first place. I am so thankful that I was able to be a teenager and do the dumb things I did. I'm also glad I had parents who loved me regardless of what I did - loved me ALWAYS, but may not of always "liked" me (as my mother would say).
When I reconnected with Rob, I had the pleasure of meeting four of the best kids in the world. Kids that are respectful, well-mannered and have the biggest hearts. They owe all of those qualities to their father. He is the exact same way and I am so thankful for that everyday.
But there is one that has touched my heart the most. One who, in many ways, reminds me of myself and in the same breath reminds me nothing of myself when I was her age.
Kaylan is 14-years-old going on 24-years-old. She is wise beyond her years and one of the most beautiful people I have ever had the pleasure of getting to know. She is more mature than most adults I know. She is not your typical teenager by any standards - except her adorable looks, the cute way she dresses, her plethora of converse shoes and the cell phone that is constantly connected to her hand.
All her life she has had to play the role of an adult and to me, that's just not fair. But, honestly, she had no choice. That was the life she was born into whether she wanted to be or not. And you know what? She has taken that life and made it into something extraordinary. She is so intelligent, has a ton of friends, siblings that adore her and a father that considers his daughter his best friend. That, in my book, is quite an accomplishment for a 14-year-old.
It's people like K that make me step back and appreciate all my parents did for me growing up. I lead a life that was "easy" by so many standards. I did not have to work to live or work to get the clothes I wanted, they were given to me. I was so lucky (and selfish).
K's with me this week, after a really bad weekend with her Mom, and I am thrilled she is here. There are so many things I want to do with her this week - but I keep forgetting, soon they will all be here on a permanent basis and I will have plenty of time to do the things her own mother would not do with her.
What I want most out of my relationship with K is for her to know what it feels like to be loved by someone who wants nothing in return from her. Someone who understands she is a teenager and she is going to screw up and actually "do dumb teenager things" and I will still love her the exact same. I want her to stop worrying about being the adult and actually start to live her life the way she should have been for SO MANY years.
I think this will be hard for her to do because that's who she was raised to be - and I would never want to change that or take that away from her. Her life has made her the AMAZING young lady she is today and I could not feel more blessed to have her in my life.
In a way, I feel like K was brought into my life to provide me a second chance at appreciating life for what it really is - fragile and beautiful all at the same time. I love that little girl like she was my very own and I truly hope she feels that love from me everyday because I have 14 years of loving to make up for that someone did not provide to her.