Thursday, May 05, 2005

My sister in law is sixteen. Sweet sixteen. I have watched her practically grow up before my eyes from an eight year old little girl, into the young woman she is now.

When I met my husband eight years ago, she was only a year older than my daughter is now. We took her places to eat, to play, and we spoiled her rotten. We bought her barbie dolls and I played late nights with her while she stayed over my apartment, braiding barbie's hair, and listening to the Spice Girls.

She is now, like I said, a young woman. And I have become even closer to her now than I could have ever imagined. She comes over almost daily, she helps my daughter with homework, when she sees my husband and I spent and almost dead on the carpet while children climb over us. She changes the baby when I am chasing my three year old around the house. Or she rocks the three year old to sleep while I am juggling house duties.

Today she told me her heart was breaking. The boy she has become quite fond of, the boy she thought liked her mutually, the boy she went to the movies with and walked home from school with. He told her he was thinking of asking another girl out. And her heart broke in two. Friends, he wants to be. Friends is a harsh word to a sixteen year old girl with a heart of gold waiting for love to finally blossom.

My mother in law and Tina don't get along. They actually come over one after the other to tell me how they don't understand each other. How they speak different languages and how they continually hurt each other with hate. It's a relationship I am deathly afraid of with my own daughter. One I know, that will never get to that point for various reasons I will not delve into on here. I am sitting on the sidelines taking notes. Trying to see what I can do differently. Knowing I will take a different approach.

Today, when the boy broke her heart she had no one to turn to. No one at home took her seriously. She was told to grow up and get over it. She can't grow up and get over something when she is only learning how life can be at such a young age. So she turned to me. She told me she hated herself. She told me she hated life. And the words that came out of her mouth on the phone made me ask her to come over immediately. Which she did. My husband sat and told her about the mind of a teenage boy, how not to take things and over analyze them and blame herself. Then it was my turn. I told her to never hate herself. To never hate life. To never doubt how beautiful and full of intelligence she was. How strong she was, how much of a leader she was. How much hope was ahead of her. How funny and sarcastic, how gorgeous and how unbelievably incredible she is.

I told her I was proud of her. I told her it would get better. I told her if she ever felt like she hated life, to come to me. Because I hated life not long ago. Enough to want to end it. Enough to not feel my own self in my own skin. Enough to feel as if my world was death and bones. I told her I never wanted her to get to that point, and if she did, she could come to me. I would listen. I would care. I would do something.

I told her "I know it hurts. I know it is unbelievably painful right now, but it will get better. Don't say you hate yourself or life, because someone doesn't feel the same. Learn from it, and realize that something good will eventually come of all of this."

Then I hugged her. And she didn't want to let go. She clung to me for what seemed forever. And tears streamed down my face because I felt her pain and her confusion. I kissed her forehead and I told her I loved her.

Tina stayed over for another hour or so. Wrestling with my kids, kissing my baby's cheeks and laughing with my husband. I watched her and realized that the sister I was grieving for about a month ago was not gone like I thought, but was in front of me all along. She's not just my sister in law. She is my little sis.

I hope when my daughter is sixteen, that I will be able to have just as much empathy and communication for her.

I know that in time, Tina will figure it all out. But while she can't and while she feels as if the world is black and full of shadows, I promised her tonight, I would help her as much as I could.

8 Comments:

Blogger Tulip said...

You area sweet woman Mari~

12:04 AM  
Blogger Janette said...

Being rejected as a teenager can be rough. I'm glad you are there for her, making her realize that she and life are better than her negative thoughts.

8:53 AM  
Blogger Maddie said...

The teen years. *sigh*
You'll do allright when your time comes Mari. I know it. You say you take notes? I should be taking notes from you...

-The otha M

9:19 AM  
Blogger Karla said...

Ay Mari you are such a beautiful person. That entry made me tear up. The world would be a better place if more people took the time to do what you just did for your sister-in-law.

10:00 AM  
Blogger OldHorsetailSnake said...

Good on ya, Mari.

Don't forget Hoss's favorite remedy for making things better:

"So it goes."

1:10 PM  
Blogger Desiree said...

Damnit Mari! That entry made me tear up too...wonder if its because I had the crappiest teen years...I hated been a teenager. On graduation day, I was sooo freakin' happy to get the hell out of there, I didn't even say bye to anyone outside, just told my family, "come on guys, lets get the hell out of here!!!" Believe me, I never looked back.

1:49 PM  
Blogger tannia g. robles said...

Oh Mari I had such a clear image of this tender moment you shared with us. You truly are an amazing person, friend, and mother. Your sister in law is so lucky to have someone she can come to when she needs help. Not many teenagers are so lucky

6:08 PM  
Blogger mixedupmama said...

You know, I read this book once called, when bad things happenend to good people,..and it basically says that when bad things happen to people it's not god who decided it..bad things just happen...but when bad things do happen...its the people who help you through the tough times..whether it be helping by calling 911 or even just helping them cope with the rough times ahead..thats god working through people...my point is...that, in my opinion, god is working through you to help your sis in law..when she really needs it right now....sometimes it just takes one person..to help make a world of difference in someones life...what a job..you should be very very proud of yourself!!!!

6:26 PM  

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