Monday, May 18, 2009

Rehanna, My Young Lady

On Friday, my daughter, Rehanna turned 15 years old. While I can still hardly believe it, I am learning the nuances of being a mother and seeing the time slip by so quickly. Soon, I know she will be gone, and I will still be, in my heart, out at the curb waiting for a school bus to bring her home.
I remember her very first day of kindergarten...when we waited for her to return home, and she didn't...not until past 5:00pm. The bus driver had gotten lost, and we were absolutely BESIDE ourselves with worry. But soon, we saw her bus, and there Rehanna was, at five years old, telling the bus driver how to get her home. That's my girl.
As she grew up, she took it upon herself to become a little mother hen to her autistic brothers, much as I tried hard to let her "just be a kid" just wasn't in her. I endured harsh criticism from certain ones of my family, that I "let this happen", but I assure you, I did not! Some children, in situations with disabled siblings, just follow that path all on their own. Or maybe Rehanna sensed that I needed help. In that case, perhaps I was a bit of a failure, I don't know. All I know is that Rehanna developed a fierce sense of loyalty...and it spills over to every other relationship in her life.As she has gotten older, Rehanna's been plagued with hard choices, some of which she has chosen wrongly. But I love her no matter what. She is still amazing to me, still a HUGE winner, and smarter than any other kid I know her age. There isn't much that gets past her.

So...15 years ago, I had my first child. A single mom, living with my own mother, but I wasn't exactly young and stupid. I was 25 years old and had a good job. I only wished I could have spent more time with her as a baby. I used to come home from work, and pick up her sleeping little body out of her crib and just hold her. I couldn't stop kissing her sweet little cheeks. She was a darling baby.
And now, she's a young woman, and I am stunned that the time has passed. I've been so wrapped up in my own life, my own mistakes...I worry I wasn't there for her like I should have been.

My beautiful Rehanna, I love you so much. And I want you to know that I'll always be here for you. There is no exit sign at the door when you turn eighteen. There is no time limit to my love, and there's no gun to your head to be anything you don't want to be.

I love you, honey.

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