Monday, July 02, 2007

the BIG something

i've got something else on my mind. last week, i shared a laundry list of "things i'm doing" these days. i left a few things off my list. things like:

rehearsing mozart's "requiem",
planning a murder mystery fundraiser for my organization, where we live,
and
preparing recreation activities for vacation bible school.

but there's something else.

i'd like to introduce you to taylor.

taylor is matty's 16 year-old daughter. she is a beautiful, intelligent, outspoken, well-mannered, young woman. she has lived an unbelievable life in her 16 short years on this earth.

due to an ugly divorce and an even uglier custody battle, matty has had little to no contact with taylor since she was 6 years old. she has spent most of her life living with her maternal grandmother in florida. one year ago, she put herself on a greyhound bus and ran away to her mother in georgia. as far as we can tell, it was pretty much "out of the frying pan, into the fire" for her. the time spent with her mother was apparantly more stressful than being with her grandmother.

in the 10 years that i have known & loved matty, he has tried to share with me the horror of this family. having grown up in a very "cookie cutter" family myself (is it possible to be too normal?), i have a very hard time believing the stories he has told me. i have been known to refer to them as the "jerry springer family."


on tuesday, may 29th (2 days after her 16th birthday), we received an early morning phone call from georgia. "can taylor come stay with you for a few weeks?"

of course! matty has dreamed of spending time with his daughter for the past 10 years. we had even extended an invitation for her to spend her summer with us back in march, but were never taken up on it.

matty picked up taylor that friday. within a week, her mother called and asked us to keep her for the summer. two weeks later, her mother called to tell us that she didn't want taylor to come back at all.

all of you women out there were 16 once. there's plenty to be worried about when you are 16. being rejected by your mother again and again should never be one of those things.

i have spent the better part of this past month getting to know this young woman who has entered our home. she is amazingly resilient, considering the emotional turmoil she has been through. she will stay with us for her junior and senior years of high school.

she is incredible with jack, and he absolutely adores her. she and her father share the same quirky sense of humor, and they keep me in stitches. matty has found a new calm in his life, now that taylor is under his roof.

even as i type this, i think maybe it hasn't even sunk in with me yet. i know this is a blessing that we are able to help her settle down, enjoy & excel in her final years of high school. this is a journey that i did not expect to take this year. i hope i am prepared for it.

26 comments:

Keli said...

Best of luck! As a teenager, my parents took on two of my cousins from a similar situation. I'm not going to lie, it was hard on all of us, but we became better people and a close family because of it. You are definitely a blessing in her life, and you will be blessed as well!

careymc said...

What a darling girl. She sounds very blessed to be with someone as loving and accepting as you seem to be. Thank goodness she has that right now...

Liz said...

Wow, good luck, Lelly. We had a similar situation, and I am not going to lie, it was very hard. It's worth it, but don't get discouraged when it's not all sunshine and roses.

Lori said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kim said...

By viewing the situation as you are- as a "blessing" rather than a "burden", you will be just fine. Best of luck to your whole family and keep us posted on your new teenage daughter!

Cindy said...

You will be fine. Pray and get ready for a ride. You are probably in the romance stage right now, where everything seems new and everyone is behaving well. It will wear off. Then just knowing that you guys love her and being a good example to her is your main responsibility. Trust is earned over time. She will grow to trust you and hopefully will thrive in a loving, nurturing environment that you and your hub will provide. Good luck. Have fun. God will do the rest.

Amy said...

Oh my goodness. Stress & blessing all wrapped up in one. I can't imagine a better step mom than you!

Denise said...

That poor girl! I'm a firm believer that every girl needs a daddy, so I hope this gives them a chance to build that relationship they've both been robbed of in the past.

You have a great attitude about this new life adjustment. I hope you all prosper and grow and become a family. She's beautiful (watch out! lol).

carlo said...

oh lelly, i am in tears here...wow. so much going on.

taylor is so lucky to have you and to have matty and jack. what a difference you can make for her.

hang in there...

Jenny said...

That would be hard, but it sounds like you are very open minded--which is really the best way to approach it. She is beautiful. And I have to say I am a bit biased to her name. Best of luck!!

And now I TOTALLY understand why you have had a lot on your mind :)

chloe elizabeth said...

You are seriously one amazing person!!!

Price Cream Parlor said...

What a cute girl! This is an amazing story. What a blessing this is going to be in her life. To instantly have a teen will be hard - just hang on. This is life changing for her - and for the family...but with sacrifice comes blessings. How fun for your little to have a sister in the house!

sista # 2 said...

What an incredible turn of events! Miracles DO happen ;)Janae

Chris said...

Wow. That is amazing. I am sure you will be a great blessing to her life. My parents took in a friend of the family his senior year. Not easy but saved him and we were blessed by his life too. I am sure there will be ups and downs but in the end family is what matters. Good luck!

Jill said...

Oh my goodness, this bit of news kind of trumps everything else doesn't it? No wonder you're stressed out.

Hopefully this will be a great opportunity for Taylor to have a stable home life and get to know her dad and her step-mom and half brother, wow! That's a lot to take in. I wish you luck and love with your "new" family.

Rachel said...

Somtimes the most resilent people are the result of turmoil...What a blessing/challenge for all of you to be together! Best of wishes! :)

Amanda :-) said...

What an amazing set of circumstances. I'm glad there are so many people within your blogging circle, too, who can offer you encouragement and words of wisdom. She looks a darling, Lelly. I hope this is the making of her! xxx

michelle said...

Wow wow wow!!! What a strange turn of events. You said it perfectly when you said that a 16-year-old girl should never have to worry about being rejected by her mother. I'm so glad she had you and her dad to turn to! Just wow.

Elizabeth said...

What a blessing for your husband. Even if it is hard, know that you are making such a big difference for her.

stefanie@stationerywithstyle.com said...

Wow! What a tremendous blessing for your family, and for Taylor. Lots of changes, I know, but I have so much faith in you, Lelly.

Jen said...

what a life-changing position you are all in! i can't imagine going through what taylor is at her age. you seem to be doing a great job with things! i admire your courage!

Jennifer said...

Congratulations and welcome Taylor! I have lurked on your blog via Kristi several times but I am now moved to comment. Coming from a background with a wacky parent myself I feel so grateful for my sound of mind mother and the stepfather that has always treated me as his own child. As an adult I have been ever blessed by their roles in my life and my place intheirs. Taylor will gain much from your solid influences. I admire your family already!

Missy said...

Wow! I have chills reading about Taylor's story. What a blessing to be able to finally have Taylor is your everyday lives. Best of luck to you through the good and challenging times ahead.
Missy

Lucy said...

My heart hurts for Taylor to have missed the stability that all children deserve throughout their younger years and think it's wonderful that you are open and loving and accepting enough to adjust your life now. It obviously will have its challenges, but even the thought of the kind of difference you can make in her life makes it all seem worth it.

I think you're awesome.

Rebekah said...

You're going to change her life for the better, Lelly! What a great opportunity for Matty, and for your whole family.

annalisa said...

Lelly, what a wonderful opportunity for Taylor to be in your home, getting to know her other family and for you to have some "cookie cutter" influence in her life. I sure both of you will look back on these last years of her high school with fondness.