There are times when I am at a playdate or on the playground with Girl from the East when I let slip that there’s another girl in my life — a teenager — which would be Girl from the West. I love watching the expressions and reactions on people’s faces.Usually it’s wide eyes, opened mouths and then “You have a teenager and a toddler at the same time?”
Only those in the same position nod their heads knowingly.I mean, I’ve never done a poll or anything, but I think most folks wouldn’t plan to have such a huge gap between children. It’s more that life places that gap there. It could be through divorce, death of a spouse, a second marriage, or fertility struggles.
On top of having a teen and a tot, I have other issues with my girls.
Girl from the East was adopted. Not that I embroider that on her shirt but we are, as they say in adoption vernacular, a “conspicuous family.” In shorthand that means we can’t usually to to the mall or the park or an event without stares and questions. After a year, we’re getting used to it. Bring on the nosey questions and rude comments: We are proud of our Girl from the East.
Girl from the West came to me by the old-fashioned method, kicking and screaming into this world after hours of hard labor on my part. However, she is a child of divorce and lives in two homes. In shorthand, she lives with me four nights out of the week. This also causes wide eyes, open mouths and questions about logistics and family dynamics.When she was younger, I’d have to reassure some of her peers that I was her “real mother” and not her “fake mom” as they assumed because our last names were different.
Nothing is easy in this scenario. But I engineered most of it, so I’ve always felt I can’t complain. What I can do is figure out how to make it work.
To get to the point of this post, with all the tot and teen dramas unfolding around here, it’s nice to get some positive feedback once in a while. Three things happened in the last week.
One: Girl from the East has progressed amazingly in her tumble and sports class at the community center. After just six weeks, she’s now able to keep up with the class and break away from me and do some independent play.
Two: Girl from the West had her first rehearsal last weekend for her international exchange program next summer. At the end of an all-day run-through on the other side of the state (in which we left the house at 5 a.m.) her choir performed for us weary parents. Amazing. I was nearly in tears. These kids sounded so good.
Three: Girl from the West brought home an all A and B report card.
If nothing else, at least I can say these girls are moving forward, which is amazing progress from a year ago at this time. It wouldn’t have happened quite so well had I been away from home these last 12 months.