5/01/2006

growing up too fast

Tomorrow my niece turns 14. When I was fourteen I drank my first bottle(s) of beer. When I was fourteen I ran away from home to be with my 23 year old boyfriend but only made it two towns over to a corn field in the middle of the night before I realized that there really was no place like home. When I was fourteen I realized that people are either mostly honest or mostly liars and never are they both. At fourteen I realized my father was an alcoholic and my childhood would never be 'normal'. When I was fourteen I discovered what infidelity meant the moment I caught my dad cheating on my mother in the back of our family sedan. At fourteen I watched the strongest woman in the world become one of the weakest. When I turned fourteen I was not a child any longer, not by choice but by necessity.

My niece turns 14 tomorrow and at fourteen she will have survived the divorce of her parents, her mother giving up custody of her to her father, five different homes and six different schools, a new step mother, two new sisters, a diagnosis of AD/HD and depression. She will have discovered that people are either mostly honest or mostly liars and never are they both. She will have lost faith in those she loves but more importantly she will have lost faith in herself. She will know what it feels like to have love and lost love yet she will not be able to distinguish the two as separate. At fourteen she will have contemplated her life, searched for answers to questions she's never been brave enough to ask, and she will have lived more pain than most of her classmates. When my niece turns fourteen she will not be a child any longer, not by her choice but by necessity.

Maybe I can love her enough to let her be a child just a little longer. We all grow up too damn fast, not by choice - by necessity.

11 Comments:

  1. Christine said...
    She will be 14 and have you.

    She can be 14 and know the worst of life and the best too. Not all 14 year olds have an aunt like you.

    God bless her being 14.
    AAwoken said...
    Hopefully she'll figure it all out before too much damage is done.
    Lex-Sunshine said...
    WOW! At 14, I would have loved to have some one to show me how to live sober. How to dress. How to balance a check book. some one that gave me a safe place to just be. It sounds like you give that all to her. I'll keep her in my prayers.
    Tab said...
    Sometimes,for some of us,it is only until we do grow up that we can start making sense of it all.
    Your niece may very well be just fine one day , with the honesty and dignity you give her ,with her own soul she may learn how to live with depression and other issues.
    Non of these are untreatable.
    I share hope, because it saved my life,share it with her too :)
    Thank you for sharing Net.
    NMAMFQLMSH said...
    You don't know how much I appreciate your honest post. How very painful it must of been for you as a young 14 year old. Hey! Look at you now! All grown up and living each day to the fullest!
    I see you and a baby too,
    JJ
    Spitfire said...
    Congratulations on your new love! How happy I am for you! I hope you are well and are always in my thoughts! As for your niece - well, maybe she can find her place through you...or the one you are about to bring into this world...
    e.e. said...
    God, how many times do I want to teach my nieces and my nephew that you can overcome the harshnesses of life. That yes, it's tough, but not to let love escape your heart, or bitterness overwhelm you.
    There is so much alcoholism in my family too.. and in their lives still...
    We can only do what we do best. Be there for them.
    Show them the love.
    WDKY said...
    Shit. So much, so young - that's three years older than O.

    She's lucky to have you around, and I know you'll do whatever you can for her. You're a big plus in her life, NWC.
    Lori said...
    This makes me so sad. No young person - no person, period - should have to go through all of this. I feel badly for your niece, and I hurt for you, knowing you had to go through all of that at such a tender age.

    But the greatness to it all is that you are her aunt and despite all of the chaos of your youth, you have risen above it and have stepped out of the circle to make your own, wonderful way.

    God bless you both.
    NML said...
    With someone as lovely as you to look out for her, it will be difficult for her not to get some love.
    Rex said...
    It is so hard to let them grow up. The thing I try to remember is that they are not ours, they are only given to us to love for a while....they eventually grow wings and leave the nest. The best we can do is to just love them as much as we can while they are here.

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