Today is the last day that I have a minor child. Tomorrow, Elizabeth turns 18.
This is a huge ass victory. All of the people who thought I would never go anywhere or do anything because of her...wrong. All of the people who thought I would not be able to raise a child as a young single mother...wrong. All of the people who thought that she would be FUBAR'ed because of me...wrong.
Or maybe it was in spite of me.
My daughter is absolutely amazing. I know every parent says that. But. She has overcome some pretty steep challenges against her. A mother who lived at the poverty level for a pretty long time. A single mother. A mother and father who did not always get along so well. A YOUNG single mother. Somewhat dysfunctional families on both sides.
She is not a statistic. She has grown up and evolved to be a pretty goddamned fantastic human being.
The kind of person who will make it a mission to make a perfect stranger she has never met, who got stood up for homecoming, have a great night. The kind of person who will stop at Walmart on her way home from work to buy her baby sister five goldfish when the one she got her for her first birthday died. The kind of person who will text her mother "go get em, tiger" when she is interviewing for a job that could potentially change all of our lives. The kind of person who will stand up for her friends when they are persecuted for their religion. The kind of person that other people tell me, without fail, is a genuinely nice, sweet girl.
Don't get me wrong. That kid has her faults. She is stubborn as hell. I blame her father for that one. She knows her mind. Blame him for that as well. She is messy at times. Again, him. She has the Lambkins temper. I don't know yet if she has the Lambkins tolerance for alcohol, nor do I want to know if she knows this yet. I can't figure out a way to blame her father (or stepfather, for that matter LOL) for either of these so I guess I have to own those...
But the fact that she is not some god-awful hellion child that teachers wince and brace themselves for in the classroom...the fact that she is able to have a relationship with both sides of her family...the fact that she has an inherent sense of right and wrong and that she acts on this sense to make sure right is done...the fact that every employer she has had, every person she has babysat for loves her to pieces...
All of that is despite her parents' best efforts to totally fuck her up. And trust me, all of us tried really really hard to do so.
Happy birthday, Elizabeth Carle. Mamacakes loves you ever and ever so much. And remember very very hard as you venture out into the world tomorrow morning as an adult:
You are my sunshine,
My only sunshine,
You make me happy,
When skies are gray,
You'll never know dear,
How much I love you.
Please don't take
My sunshine away.