This week has been filled with prom preparations, we’ve purchased the required gown with “bling” and beauty. We’ve got the shoes with a stiletto high heel, and the earings to compliment her dress. We’ve gotten our manicures and pedicures and she has (against my wishes) spent her money on self-tanner.
And in a few short weeks, we will watch our daughter cross the stage in her cap and gown.
Most mothers, as they watch their daughter get all dolled up in a fancy dress and heels, probably remember when their daughters were young and used to tottle around the house in heels way too big for them. Or maybe they flash back to days of dress-up in princess costumes or ballet outfits.
Most mothers, as they watch their daughters cross the stage are probably reminiscing, thinking ‘where did that little girl in pig tails with missing front teeth go?” They grow up all too soon.
Those won’t be my thoughts over the next few weeks.
My daughter, fierce and beautiful, courageous and strong, walked into my house a little over a year and a half ago with a sullen, quiet look of frustration and fear on her face. We were her second foster placement in a 3 month period after she had bravely stepped forward to name herself as a victim of abuse at the hand of her stepfather. She came into our house with Rubbermaid containers of cloths, and her two sisters, 5 and 6. She asked us if the younger girls could call us “mommy and daddy” but she called us Tricia and Dwight. With good reason. She’d already been through this before.
It was the night before thanksgiving when she entered our home, filled already with 6 of my 7 siblings, and my parents. She quickly came out of her shell and weeks later used her salesmanship to convince me to buy her an iPhone. (that hasn’t stopped, I still spend way more money than I should on her.) For the first month she told us firmly that she didn’t want to be adopted; she only wanted someone to take guardianship of her until she turned 18, so that she could become a US citizen. (She’d moved her as a refugee from Bosnia at 9months old.) By Christmas, she’d asked us to be the ones to take guardianship, by January we were talking about adoption. Suddenly one day (maybe around Valentines Day) we became mom and dad.
I can’t imagine my life without her.
But when I get to see her complete prom outfit next week, and when we watch her cross the stage in 3 weeks, the tears on my face won’t be from memories of her as a little girl. The tears will be pride in the fierce creature that she is. They will be tears for the years of pain, and abuse that she’s endured; tears for the childhood that was taken from her all too soon. Tears for the courage and strength she has had over the last two years as together we’ve fought for her sisters. They will be tears of happiness that God brought her into my life, and tears of thankfulness for making me a mother.