That's what my sister wrote on the card that came with flowers today.... She sent me this most gorgeous bouquet of flowers and for no reason other than the last nine months have been extremely difficult for me. You see, my husband's 17 year old daughter came to live with us last August. She had become too much for her mother to handle so she sent her off kicking and screaming, and in handcuffs.... to one of those boot camps for wayward teenagers. She spent 54 days in the Idaho desert, before figuring out how to play the game so she could be released, and then was shipped to Juneau to live with us. Yes, we welcomed her with open arms, thrilled to have her in Juneau, and excited for the opportunity to show her a warm and loving family environment and, hopefully, have an opportunity to make a difference in her life.
Okay, now..... do you think she came (1) happy to see her dad, (2) excited for a new start, (3) thrilled to experience Alaska? No? Okay, how about (1) pissed at her dad, (2) pissed at being in Juneau, and (3) hateful towards me? If you said "yes" to either (1), (2), or (3), you're absolutely right! I don't expect anyone to know exactly what the last nine months has been like because unless you have experienced it, you simply cannot know. You just can't know.... But it's almost over.
She graduates from high school on Sunday and meanwhile her mom and brother arrive in Juneau shortly. More of my least favorite people. I'm not going into it on this blog because if I got started, I'd never stop. Oh, the stories I could tell. There's too much bad history here; a horrible divorce; an angry ex-wife; children who grew up hating their dad just like their mom.... do I need to say more?
So having Brianna here this past nine months has been extremely difficult for both of us. Me because I'm not used to such hatred, such misery, such disrespect towards people. She told us when she arrived we were not her family, and she has proven it over and over again. So she found a new family, turned 18 two weeks ago, moved out, and moved in with her new family....
Today my sister sent me these beautiful flowers.... because she knows how difficult these past nine months have been.... because she has also been in this same situation during her life time.... because she knows we did all we could for Brianna.... because she knows that we're good people and tried our hardest to give Brianna a good, solid family.... because she loves me. But the reality of the past months hit me hard, how difficult it's been, and the tears have been falling since.
But tomorrow is another day and then Sunday (graduation ceremony) and then, hopefully, we can get on with our lives. And as much as I appreciate AND DESERVE the flowers.... my husband deserves so much more. He deserves recognition for taking on this task. Everyone told us (including Brianna's counselor) that we were just a prison for nine months, that we weren't going to make a difference in her life.... but we didn't believe them. We're good people, we already raised two really terrific kids, we had confidence that this was the best place for her, we could do this! Yes, I deserve flowers for standing by my man when I really wanted to strangle him most days! But Mike deserves so much more. He deserves a huge "thank you" for getting her graduated. If she was still in Seattle she most likely would be on the streets and pregnant by now. Yes, he's the hero of the day and I hope he knows how much I love him. I may have got the flowers but he earned them just as much as I did.