Thursday, July 23, 2009

Amby is headed to college ...

Wow, in just a matter of days my oldest daughter Amby's forwarding address will be ... Amby, 123 College Road, Real World USA.

It all began on a cold day in December. It wasn't time for her yet, but she was determined to make her mark on the world regardless of how anyone else felt about it. So, on December 13, 1990 Amby made her presence known with wails, flails and tons of personality. Before her first birthday arrived her father and I realized that we were way to young to be married and a bitter divorce and custody battle ensued. Our court battle took years but eventually ended with me broke both financially and emotionally and Amby living with her dad.

I had a part in raising Amby, but the majority of it went to her father's mother. She was lavished with love and her needs were always met, as well as most of her wants. In her father's home (her grandmother's actually) she was taught to respect others, to be true to God and herself, to love learning, and above all else that "anything is possible if you work hard for it". She grew to be a very well liked, very intelligent, beautiful (both inside and out) young girl. Her thirst for knowledge and her love of music led her to cultivate her singing talent, which in turn got her accepted to an arts school. There she blossomed even more.

My part in raising my daughter didn't come in the same form as from her father's side. They taught her, I guess you could say, the old fashioned way. The regular "Leave it to Beaver" kinda way. My way, unfortunately, was by a "do as I say, not as I do" kinda way. She watched me for years struggle and fail. She saw me plug along through bad relationships, emotional come-aparts, near homelessness, and several other bad habits that a young mother should not have acquired. I was a selfish, egotistical, rebellious young girl. I was a piss poor excuse for a young mother even though I called myself "doing the best that I could". It took me several years, two more marriages and two more beautiful children to realize that my problems stemmed from deeper issues and that unless I wanted the heartache that I felt all that time to be passed down to my children I must grow up, raise my children in love and understanding, and break the cycle. You may wonder how my many screw-ups resulted in the outcome of such a wonderful young woman. To help you further understand here is a letter that she wrote for me on Mother's Day '09.

Dear Momma,

It took 18 years for me to realize just how much having you for a Momma shaped my life. Having you for a Momma has made me who I am. For years, I worried for you. I cried for you. I stuck up for you. I was angry at you. I was miserable for you. But I am telling you now: you are not perfect. I do not care. You are perfect for me. You are not rich. I do not care. You do so much so well with what you do have. You are not famous. I do not care. You are beautiful. You are you. You are my Momma. You helped make me strong.

I do not care who you have been. I love who you are. So, for the midnight conversations, thank you. For your hilarious laugh, thank you. For running to the store in a t-shirt and no make-up, thank you. For the best mashed potatoes this side of the Mason-Dixon line, thank you. For talking to me about stupid boys and friendship crises, thank you. For being my Momma out of 6 billion possible candidates, thank God.


She made me grow up in so many ways, so that I in turn could help to guide her along. She took my mistakes and learned from them, she refused to repeat my failures and she learned to stand tall in the face of adversity. It hurts me to say that my life taught her that life isn't fair and the world can be cruel at times, but she is stronger for it.

Soon she will move into her first college dorm room and I couldn't be more proud of my daughter than I am right now. I have watched her from birth to the beginnings of adulthood with bated breathe and tear-filled eyes (some happy, some sad). Similar to the life of the butterfly Amby fed on knowledge, made mistakes but evaded numerous dangers, smiled at life and then crept into her chrysalis. After some time and many growing pains she burst forth ... a beautiful butterfly, her wings fully formed and ready to fly.

"Turn Around" Lyrics
Where are you goin' my little one, little one?
Where are you goin' my baby my own?
Turn around and you're two Turn around and you're four
Turn around and you're a young girl Going out the door

Chorus Turn around Turn around Turn around and you're a young girl
Going out of the door
(Turn around and you're a young wife
With babes of your own)

Where are you goin' my little one, little one?
Little dirndles and petticoats, where have you gone?
Turn around and you're tiny
Turn around and you're grown
Turn around and you're a young wife
With babes of your own

Chorus Where are you goin' my little one, little one?
Where are you goin' my baby my own?

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