Three Steps Back Again

My niece is living with us for the third time. She has had a pretty rough life, I won’t lie. But then again, even after going through the loss of her mother at 6 years old, her life was not bad. Her Dad’s parents took her and her brothers in since no one in her Mother’s family wanted them. It was not easy for her Grandparent’s. Their children were grown and out of the house, well, at least one of them was out of the house. Unfortunately, this is where the problem started. She was the only girl and everyone worried about her. They gave in to her every whim and they never made her responsible for her actions. Now at 14 years old, she has had sex, done drugs, and drank. She has skipped school and run away. She has no respect for authority or anyone for that matter.

As I mentioned before, this is the third time that she has lived with us. The first two times were because she ran away and we thought we could help. This time is because she got kicked out. Did Grandma and Grandpa want too? No. Do I support her decision, yes. Why do I support the decision? Because Grandma and Grandpa are in their 60’s with no help aside from myself and Grandpa’s sister. The constant arguing, telling her Grandparents to F-off. Threatening, threatening, threatening all the time. So Grandma and Grandpa had enough and kicked her out. She hopped from couch to couch for about two weeks and then one night I received a phone call asking if she could spend the night because she had nowhere to go. What was I going to say, no? So she came over, and here she has stayed.

Every time she has lived with us, the friction becomes unbearable in the house. My kids fight with her, my husband fights with her, I fight with her, my husband and I fight with each other, my kids fight with my husband and vice versa. The entire time, she stands there, pretending like she didn’t instigate it. She will say or do something right in front of you and not even a split second later is screaming in your face that she didn’t do it. She is full of empty promises, empty promises, empty promises. I will go to school. She goes and hour and a half late. I will come right home from school. She shows up past curfew. I won’t smoke. She comes home smelling like ganja and cigarette smoke. I won’t have sex. Well, you know how that goes.

I love this child like she came from my own body. When she was born I was the first one to hold her (after her parents of course). I watched her grow and change as she blossomed from a baby, to a toddler, to a little girl. I remember when my her Mother died, it was quick, sudden, and unexpected. She wasn’t even 30 and like the breath that blows out a flame, she was gone. At the funeral, as my daughter and I were walking out to the car, her Father tried to get her to go with him. She wouldn’t. She tugged her hand out of his and came running up to me and then proceeded to yell across the parking lot that she was riding with us. That’s how she has always been, a mind of her own and damn anyone that tries to change it.

So here I sit, an hour past curfew, waiting to see if she comes in the door. I’m not her guardian so I have no legal leg to stand on. I can’t call the police if she doesn’t come home. I have to call Grandma, who then calls the police to report her. Even then we have to wait the obligatory 24 hours. She is bright, oh my lord, she…is…bright. So why do the bright ones make the dumbest decisions.

She is my child. Why? Because I love her. I will always love her. And by the grace of God we will get through this….with a few less hairs and a few more wrinkles.

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