Today is Sissy’s 17th birthday. Somehow, she is not happy about this fact. For so long, she looked forward to turning 18 and being able to do what she wanted, when she wanted; now she’s wanting time to slow down and let her remain a child for as long as possible. She doesn’t want to grow up now. She wants to enjoy being a kid and revel in the love and attention of her family for as long as possible. If I could grant her that wish, I would. Instead, we’ll just have to lavish her with love an attention even when she’s an adult (like we wouldn’t anyway…sheesh!)
When she first came to us, she was a street-wise, in-your-face, take-no-prisoners, runaway teenager. She’d been on the run with her then-boyfriend for months, had experimented with drugs and alcohol, and had decided school wasn’t even an option in her world. She was, and still is, fiercely protective of her sister and her nieces and that’s what kept her from running away from our home in those first few weeks. She knew her way around life on the street and wasn’t afraid to go back there. I pretty much knew her whole life story in the first fifteen minutes after meeting her that first night. She was open and honest about everything; I admired that about her.
I love her smile; it can light up a room. She has an infectious laugh-especially if you poke her in the belly-that always makes me smile. It’s obvious when she’s not feeling well or is upset because that sparkle and smile in her eyes is gone. That and she heads straight for the freezer and makes a bag of French fries.
She has worked so hard over the past year to overcome her mistakes and make a better life for herself. She has decided that school is important and is now being home schooled so that she can take all the required courses to get into college. She wants to be a psychologist and pediatrician when she graduates and I know she’ll be great at them both.
Her heart is as big as the universe and she has been using her degree from the school of hard knocks to help her friends who have found themselves in situations similar to hers not so long ago. She’s so good at encouraging people to walk away from abusive relationships, stop doing drugs and drinking, stay in school and basically clean up their lives. She is compassionate and caring and is an excellent listener.
She is not biologically mine, but we are similar in so many ways, she might as well be. Neither of us can sing, although she still chooses to do so, loudly, I might add, and at the most random times. We both require chocolate to make it through the rough days and she knows where my secret stash of said chocolate is hidden. We both love pretty shoes, especially those with heels. She has a tendency to steal mine, even those she can’t necessarily walk in.
The first few days after her adoption was final, she would practically beg me to say her “full” name: Sissy Blanchard. She was so happy to finally be an official part of our family and loved hearing her new last name. I would make her giggle with joy by walking past her and whispering her new name. It was an awesome feeling.
She tells the world I’m her best friend and I can’t tell you how proud and loved that makes me feel.