With my oldest turning 13 in just over a week I am feeling sentimental about the days when the girls were younger (if you’ve read my recent writing prompt responses you already know this). I would never trade the time I have with them now for those days when they needed me more and questioned me less, but I do admit that I wonder where the time has gone. They have grown from innocent, trusting little girls to capable, thinking pre-teens.
Each time they grasp a new concept, some abstract idea or lesson I’ve been drilling in their heads I can’t help but feel pride. These girls have come so far, overcome so many obstacles, slayed so many dragons. At the ages of 4 and 5 we ripped them from their comfortable, stable lives; tore them away from friends and family; and dragged them kicking and screaming into not only a new state but a new life.
This life was not one they asked for, nor one they liked. It was constantly changing, unpredictable and scary. For the first 2 months we lived with another family, friends who were willing to take us in while we went through the process of forcing our tenants out of the house we had purchased years previously. Just as that first living arrangement started feeling comfortable and stable we yanked them out of that house and into our own. Then the real problems started. Mom and dad started fighting, something that they had never experienced before. Dad moved to the bottom bunk in their rooms (alternating between each girl’s bunk beds). Then dad moved out of the house. Dad got a new girlfriend, then the girlfriend moved in. Eventually their dad got married and had a new baby.
It was a lot, and still they persevered. It hasn’t been easy, and some days they still miss our old life, but they have grasped onto this one and are making the best of it. It’s been 7 years and yet they will still talk about the way things used to be. But little by little they understand that this is the new reality and they are learning to take changes as they come.