The girls' friend did a project for her English class where she recreated a picture that was taken 7 years ago. Here are a lot of the neighbor kids and one of the moms. This is the original...
As we get closer and closer to Coadster's 18th birthday, I've been doing a lot of thinking about my parenting throughout the years. I became a mom in my 20's, when I was too young, and immature and didn't have the self-esteem to pick a better dad for my girls. I was the sole financial provider for the girls for most of their lives, which meant that I continually struggled to pay the bills and day care and food and we lived above a bar for the first few years of grade school because it was the only place I could afford and it was close to the store and their school and we could walk whenever my 1981 Toyota Corolla broke-down. I didn't have parents to ask for advice, and I just had to figure it out as I went. I can guarantee you that I made a shit ton of mistakes, I was cranky, I spoke in a harsh tone sometimes and said things I didn't mean. There was a divorce, a move out of the only home they knew at the time, there were nearly fatal accidents and illnesses and much, much, much flying by the seats of our pants.
To my credit, I've always tried to be fair and open and honest and affectionate and compassionate, and if sometimes my initial reaction was one of impatience and annoyance, I always tried to come back and apologize and let the girls know that I was having a bad day and not to take it personally.
...And this was taken this weekend. Pretty cool, huh? It's so weird to see how much everything has changed in that time. Most of the facade of the house was ripped away by the tornado...And the little kids were ripped away by age, hormones and experiences.
The other day, Stinky and I were driving by her grade school. She went to preschool there as well, so she was there for 9 years. Stinky started talking about some of the proposed redistricting the city is considering. Since her school is the oldest in the district and most of the neighborhoods around it are full of college students, they bus a lot of kids there and they're considering closing it down. Stinky said that she would be really sad to see it vacant, since she spent most of her childhood there. I asked her if she had a happy childhood, with more than a little trepidation. You never know how anyone perceives things and she may not have thought the positives outweighed the negatives. But she responded by saying, "Oh yeah. I loved my childhood. That's why I'm scared to grow up a little..." I told her that for me, everything keeps getting better and better as I get older. Adult life can be hard and a lot of work, but just like having kids, it's always worth it and the positives have always outweighed the negatives. I hope it's the same for her and Coadster too.