Autumn

Autumn

Friday, October 14, 2011

It's The Little Things

When she walked outside from her father's house she immediately came to me and wrapped her little arms around my legs. I knew something was wrong. I whipped my head around and gave her father a look. He just raised his hands in that silly 'I don't know' move.

A few minutes later as we're driving I turned to her and asked, "What's wrong, Little Bit." She shifted sideways in the seat, all humped over, watching the scenery, silent.

"Little Bit, why are you sad?"

She turns, just slightly, and said, "She made me go to my room last night and I didn't get to come out."

I threw a tight grip on my steering wheel. My blood pressure shot up at least fifteen points. "Why?"

She knuckles her eyes, wiping away tears. "Cause she said she needed to get the baby to sleep and when I stays in the room he only looks at me and won't sleeps, Papa."

"And for this she made you go to your room all night."

"Yes."

"You weren't able to come out when your dad came home?"

"I fell asleep, Papa."

We're on the long marshlands stretch of the river. It's beautiful and I always take in the birds and the clouds and that first peek of the rising sun. But this morning it holds little beauty for me.

"Papa."

"What, Honey."

"Don't be mad, if you gets mad you'll yell at daddy and her and then my tummy will hurt and she'll won't be friendly to me."

I think of my cell phone and how easy it would be to hit my son's number and indeed scream at him. Yet, she has a point.

"Papa."

I've reached over and am holding her hand. I stroke her face and hair and wish I had the ability to make this child's hurt vanish. "What, Sweet Girl."

"I hate that house."

This will be a rough day for me. She's referred to my daughter in law as, her. "Little Bit, please don't say things like that. I know you love your dad and mom."

 (Reveal here...between us, okay. My DIL is Little Bit's step-mother. Long story.)

Silence.

"Papa."

"Yes, Little Bit."

"Please, Papa, can I move in with you and Nana? Please, Papa. I want to live with you."

Oh, Lord, how do you reply to such a question. I change the subject, or at least try. "Little Bit, what did you do while you were in your room?"

"I read my Barbie book. I read the whole book too, Papa."

"Good."

"Papa, I want to live with you."

"Sweetheart, I'd love it if you lived with Nana and Papa, but you know as well as I that your father won't allow it. Honey, he loves you very much."

Silence. She's shifted back to her staring out the window routine.  Then, "No he doesn't."

Then it hits me. She's mad. She's angry only because she had to spend time alone in her room, fell asleep, and didn't get to see her father. He works late most nights.

"Little Bit, are you mad?"

"No, Papa."

"Did reading help you pass the time while you waited for Sport Model to take his nap?"

"Yes. Like you always tell me, Papa, books are our friends."


We rode in silence for a while. Held hands. She seemed to be 'coming around,' as they say. So I took a chance and asked, "You still want to live with Papa?"

Her, "Yes."

Again, "Papa?"

"What, Honey."

"I love you."

And then we do our silly little thing. I'm sure grandparents and grandchildren world over do much the same.

"I love you, more," I replied.

"I love you, most."


Such is life.

(Note, it has taken me the better part of three days to decide to write this post. I hate to lay bare my soul to such a vast audience, but please understand, I write this for her. Little girls and boys wear their hearts on their sleeves, their emotions are tender, so what a parent or grandparent judge immaterial they find painful. I've since spoken to both of her parents. They lived.)

Stephen

42 comments:

  1. I know it's tough, what can I say...you're doing what you can. And young adults think they can do what they please as long as they are 'happy' and don't have a clue how kids are impacted.

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  2. I'm just going to say, "WoW". I can't offer anything contructive to say other than that this post above is why we are blessed with grandparents.

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  3. someday SOON I hope your SON reads this and sees the harm he is causing and fixes it.

    I was in a very similar situation when I was a kid. Only I had a Gramma. Sadly my father rarely let me see her.

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  4. That poor, poor little girl! I empathize about the baby not going to sleep--my imp has just turned three, his ten month old baby sister adores him and won't go to sleep when he's in the room--but still. You don't confine a small child to their room just because. An adult finds a way to deal with it that doesn't hurt either child. I turn on Thomas the Tank Engine, and take the pixie in her room to go to sleep. Then, I take him outside to play, with a baby monitor.

    We're working on cleaning up the laundry room--an 8' x 17' room with a cement floor that has been used for storage--so that he'll have somewhere to stomp around and play this winter when he can't go outside.

    See, that is what an adult does. No matter how tired or irritated with the situation, an adult doesn't neglect one child in favor of the other, even if it is a step-child.

    Sorry about the rant. I was the one that was sent to the room, by every adult in my childhood. It sets my teeth on edge and makes me want to go poke holes in paper at long ranges to burn off steam when I hear about it happening to other little kids. Especially when they're little enough that they can't understand that it isn't their fault that mommy or daddy (or both, in my case) isn't worth their tears.

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  5. Hey HH, I was also the one sent to my room. my stepmother (though she does not deserve the term mother) made me stay in my room just about every minute I was there. Then when my dad asked her why I was always in my room, she would say it was by MY choice because I was ashamed of him. Pure evil that woman is.

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  6. I usually don't make a habit in poking in others affairs but I will add my two cents here and I will leave it at that. First off you have to stop arguing with son and his wife. Like it or not they are her parents and they could get irritated enough to cut off all you access to Lil bit. I will bet you dollars to doughnuts that a restraining order has probably already past through his wife's mind. Here is the approach I would use. For the first week to 3 weeks keep the conversations civil and calm. If any reports come from Lil bit write them down in a notebook with dates. After about three weeks tell your son that he looks tired and should get some rest. After he lets that sink in offer to let Lil bit stay at your house for a few days so that he can get some rest. Continue this pattern for six months and increase the length of stay for her gradually. This way you will be a positive influence on her and still keep you in your son's good graces. Anywho that's my two cents and forgive my intrusion.

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  7. mmasse - i couldn't agree more with your approach - you have hit the nail right on the head.

    Stephen - i have a friend who is going through the same thing. all 3 of her grandchildren want to live with her as their father is always at work and their step-mother is always...well...drunk. my friend talked to me very seriously about trying to get custody. i warned her against it as it is almost impossible in this day and age - there must be more to it than "step-mother is always drunk" or "step-mother always puts me in my room" or "the parents love the new baby more". it has to be really, really bad for grandparents to get custody.

    i told my friend to be as civil as possible with the parents. and not to berate them or yell at them - as hard as that is. she was threatened at one point of the children no longer being able to see her - and parents can do that.

    so re-read mmasse's suggestion...you may be able to get Little Bit for longer periods of time and then will benefit her greatly!

    i am so sorry for the frustration that you must feel in this situation. so sorry.

    tell Little Bit that all of your internet friends ask about her often. and tell her how pretty we think she is!

    your friend,
    kymber

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  8. This is the best blog post I've read in a week.

    When Life starts talking in its Outdoors Voice, it can be pretty loud. For kids, too.

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  9. Borepatch is right.

    This is one of the better posts out there in blogoworld.

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  10. good post.....but hey....I am a grandpa too....

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  11. Duke, thank you, my friend. You know her and truly understand how I feel.

    Matt, thanks. I truly don't know what she'd do without us. It hurts.

    Kellie, he isn't even aware I write this blog. Which in truth is probably a good thing. Thank you.

    HH, I'm so sorry. My great weakness in life are children. It kills my soul when I see one mistreated...so you can well imagine how I feel about my Little Bit, my heart. Thank you.

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  12. I am grateful to have had my grandfather as long as I had, and count every day lucky to still have a grandmother. You have no idea how strong you are making Lil'Bit every day.

    You should be extremely proud. A grandchild-grandparent bond is extremely strong, and parents tend to forget what that bond was like when they were younger.

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  13. mmasse, first, thank you for the honesty. But, it's just the opposite, I don't argue with my son. For the first few years of her young life she lived with us...he basically was the baby sitter. Her mother left her at birth in another state. I spent a fortune getting her here. A fortune. Two lawyers. My son, could have cared less. Then he married his present wife. So, we then gradually introduce Little Bit back into his life because as he said, 'it looks bad.' His pride. Problem is, they had a baby almost immediately. His/their love went there. He does love her in his way, but Little Bit is 'her' child.

    kymber, ditto, and thank you.

    Borepatch, thank you, kind Sir.

    Matt, thank you too. You're a kind friend.

    Warlock, then you do understand. I'm at lost ends and it kills my soul.

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  14. Stephen, this whole this with LB and her parents... is this where you get your Blog Title?

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  15. Mudbug, thank you very much. I try.

    Matt, yes. You are the first.

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  16. I stand corrected, my apologies.

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  17. mmasse, no problem. It takes much self control on my part. I am her advocate. I love my son, he's only 32. My wife and I pay all of Little Bit's expenses in order to help him and his wife. We fought for private school and in order to keep her out of the public school system we offered and pay for that too. I seldom if ever intrude on his life, but when it comes to this child, I'm patient and hold my tongue but I'm at the same time, very firm. Her happiness is all I want. My wife once found her playing with a doll in the corner of our family room. She was telling her doll wouldn't it be nice if we had a real mom...this, my friend, is why I do what I do. Thank you so much. And, I'm sorry to lay all this on you nice people, but I want her, Little Bit, to have this when I'm gone.

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  18. Stephen,

    Sometimes your blog brings me to tears..
    Sorry for your pain.
    My wife and I have the opposite problem, we would move heaven and earth for our girls, but the grandparents are almost non-exsistent in their lives. My mother has never even met my youngest.(she's 16 months now)

    I can sympathize with the baby not sleeping, however I never made my older child leave. I would ask her to please be quite(which didn't quite work, as you can guess.) But the baby eventually went to sleep, and now they are best friends.

    Keep up the good work, my friend.
    God Bless you.

    Kent

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  19. I agree with mmasse, it seems the best approach to the situation. That way the parents don 't take it out on her. You can still get what you want and yet they will think they have the upper hand. Because they are the parents, by gosh, . . You are actually helping them out with Sport, his rest, the stress they endure having two kids, by the Same Token---Lil Bit is happiest because she gets more time with her Nana & Papa and isn't having anything hurt her tummy! It seems to be the most logical thing to do for all involved. And another thing, you are to be commended for what you have already instilled in this pretty Little Bit---the Love of Reading. It gave me goosebumps to read "Books are our Friends". What a special little grandchild you have there! Mudbug has it right the bond you have with her is very strong. Be sure and telll your wife, the grandparents love is very special. Not many have this kind, she opens up and shares everything. But most of all she speaks her mind. . . You should be very proud. It will work out, get her as often as you can!

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  20. Kent, thank you for the kind words. I often wonder if I should write these tidbits of my life. It's hard on me.

    kingturkeyoak, I spend as much time with her as I can...I drive her to school each school day. We try and have her over Friday nights. She is special. Thank you very much.

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  21. "When winter comes the lone wolf dies but the pack survives." George R.R. Martin Your son and his wife(the word sticks in my crow even when I try to type it) are doing a disservice not just to lilbit.

    Our children are our only true link to the future even if you are a stone cold atheist you should do everything that advantage your children so that they have the best possible chance of reproducing a new generation that will be the most likely to successfully reproduce and so on. Trying to predict which of your children this will be is pure folly. Children aren't a status symbol and it doesn't matter what "looks bad" what matters is that our love for them and their future should be the very most important things in each of our lives.

    I wish I could do more for you than pray my friend, letting go and letting God isn't really in my nature. But if blogging this provides even some catharsis that gives you strength to lend your grandchildren then never hesitate to put it out to your readers.

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  22. I was thinking yesterday that I missed hearing about Little Bit, but this isn't what I wanted to hear :o( I'm sorry for your pain, I'm so sorry for Little Bit's pain, and I am even sorry for what your son and DIL are missing out on. I will pray God's will for you all.
    Shar
    Your blog is on the top of my favorite list,I like the way you express yourself, please don't change.

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  23. Stephen, you are doing the best that you and the Mrs. can do. She will always be happy by being with you both. So many have given you wisdom and strength. LB has become a member of our prepper family on your blog. As you can see by the comments.

    LB is the future, If more people cared as you do things would be better all around. Please keep posting about LB, we all care.

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  24. Odysseus, thank you very much. You do get it. And, thank you for your prayers. Sometimes when I write of my feeling in this way, it hurts more than most would believe.

    Shar, so good to hear from you. Thank you too for the kind words. I shall strive to 'express myself' even if I don't understand how. God bless.

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  25. Rob, thank you kind sir. Little Bit will proud when I tell her of your kind expression of love.
    God bless.

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  26. stephen,
    I was a "little bit" with a loving, honest, grandfather so similar to you.
    I am crying tears of childhood memories as I read this story with great empathy with your granddaughter.
    Know this, I NEVER ever felt safe and really loved for the next 11 years of forced placement into a home where I was always "the other person's child". It was unspoken to me, but I knew it. I also begged to go back home to my grandparents. It was also denied because "it wasn't right and it looked bad."
    Thus, I lived for the next 11 years pretty much self-locked up in my room and befriended books and imaginary friends to cope with the hurt and pain. I was warned not to ever tell my grandfather ANYTHING that occurred in our household. I was sworn to secrecy and to never acknowledge my needs to outsiders or to reach out for help, with the treat of abandonment and a whipping.
    the neglect became evident when my parents had their own baby together, roughly 9 months after they married.
    From then on, it was unintentional neglectful and emotionally abusive on a daily basis and this only worsened as my parents continued to have 3 more children.
    It was like I just came along with the "I do" of the marriage, but "I clearly didn't" belong.

    Compared to the love and comfort and complete safety I received when I lived the first four years of my life with my grandfather, I would have NO normality to compare what unconditional Love really is.

    So, the moral to this story, is HEAR "little bit" and no matter what her parents say, she will learn that TRUTH is spoken when it comes out of YOUR mouth. Mistrust will remain intact with her new mother and with her father,
    unless her parents STOP this neglectful behavior now and seek some counseling to incorporate Little Bit into their lives.

    Little Bit is acting in her own best behalf.
    Trust her. in her innocence, she knows not only what she NEEDS, but also what she is NOT getting. It also sounds like she has learned the consequence of FEAR as well by asking you to not tell her father.
    The worst thing that could occur now is that she be doubly deemed punishment again for speaking out to you.

    You are her guardian angel Stephen.

    You are the only person she can safely tell.
    This trust if silenced, will impact her the whole of the rest of her adult life.

    Thank God for Grandfather's like you Stephen.
    I miss mine so very much as he passed on to go Fish with God. I am old now, but I thank him in my prayers every single day for his angelic presence in my early childhood life.

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  27. thanks Anonymous - now i am crying too! with you and with Little Bit and with Stephen and everyone else who has shared their histories here.

    jeesh Stephen - i thought this was a blog about survivalism and guns and stuff!!!

    all kidding aside - it is a blog about survivalism. helping our children and grandchildren is the essence of proper survivalism. and it takes a village to raise a child. and sometimes that village extends thousands of miles.

    i can't wait for the day that LB is old enough to read all of these posts that you write for her and about her...i know that her heart will swell and the great love that she already feels for her grandparents will quadrouple exponentially...

    oh what that little girl is going to be capable of when she grows up! it is mind-blowing!

    and Stephen thank you for sharing yourself, really sharing your thoughts and feelings here. look at how many people care. and are concerned. and are trying to help.

    the internet can be a wonderful tool when used properly...and He certainly does work in mysterious ways!

    just checking in on this post that i have been thinking of all evening...now off to bed. i know and believe that tomorrow always brings us opportunities to fix what we couldn't fix today. and with that, my dear friend, i bid you a good night.

    your friend,
    kymber

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  28. I have nothing to add to all the other comments except this - I will keep you and Little Bit in my prayers, every day, from now on.
    I believe in prayer.

    Blessings,
    Red

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  29. Anonymous, I feel your pain. My youth was similar. My biological father was a sperm donor. If it wasn't for my grandfather, I don 't think I would be here now. After my last post, everything came flooding out. I meant to tell you--please dp everything you can to be in her life. You are what is important in her little world. You grandparents, you are her lifeline. I know it must be extremely hard for you to let this out, but I do believe this can be very helpful for you. I wanted to express to you how important you are in her life, . . You are her love, trust and comfort. Kids are smarter than we give them credit. No matter what -- yes--I 'm gonna say it----kiss their butt and whatever else you Have to do to stay in her life. I had my grandfather in the first 5 years of my life--Full time. Then when the remarriage came --it became part time. They knew we had a special relationship, then when I turned 9, we moved away. It took a year to find me, even though we were only 40 miles apart. I became withdrawn. . .when we were able to visit again, I had got brave enough to confess to my mom how I truly felt. She made it happen! My grandfather and I made a promise to each other-- we would never let it happen again. No matter what it meant. If the stepparent saw this bond they were extremely jealous and would totally forbid any contact. I tried to act like it didn't bother me. . .But it did. I remember once when I was 12, I came in from school went to my room, my grandfather had drove the long trip, and even though I was at school, he had came and brought me a beautiful Red dress and hung it in my closet. I didn't get to see him that day. . But something really good happened. My mom came in, saw me trying on the dress, and we just held each other. She knew. I don't know if my Papa shared with her about our promise, but she did tell me she knew about the dress! I was so happy. I was preteen. The age where all the girlfriends get together and trade clothes for at least 3 days or until the parents noticed and said something about it! I only had two other friends and they both got mad because I would not let them wear that dress! I would still have it today if it had been allowed. Someone went in my room, unlocked my diary (supposed to be private, right?) and starting throwing everything my Papa ever got for me, including the locket with the shape of the heart, mother of pearl on the front and a gold cross on it! He had given me when I was first starting school. I probably had this for about 8 years. Which was a long time for a very young little girl, my mom said. Inside the locket were pictures in the shape of the heart and fit snug with tiny gold framing to hold them in. On one side a picture of my Papa, the other side a picture of my mom when she was a little girl my age!

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  30. Had to go for the tears was slowing my typing. .I made ever effort I could to act like it didn ' t bother me. I hated that this was no more in my life. I couldn't come home from school and find it in my little jewelry box where I always kept it when I didn't want to wear it that day. The simple fact is this Little Bit must know that you are always there. . .No Matter What! You do not want them drilling her with questions everytime she visits with Nana & Papa. They will if they feel they are not connected with her or start feeling guilty about how they treated her the previous day or whatever. I have a niece that went through this, it is horrible. She is grown now, has her own children and the kids don't want anything to do with them. I hope the insert from the book I just wrote is ok with everyone. This blog is very good for the soul, Stephen, you and your family are in my prayers. I look forward to hearing about Little Bit. She such a little character already when she talks with you, it warms my heart! I hope she always knows how much she is truly Loved! <3

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  31. Stephen, Little Bit loves you, and KNOWS you love her. You show her. In countless ways.

    I had no grandparents. Not one. But my grandson, MKid has me. And knows he has me. And knows he is very loved by me.

    Small kids / Grandchildren need a loving refuge from the world, and judging from the conversation with you, Little Bit is acknowledging that you fill that vital space.

    You are trying, and doing so much for her, in her best interests. I'm sure that if you felt she was being harmed in any way whatsoever, then your son and his new wife's feelings / pride wouldn't enter into the debate. You would do ONLY what is in Little Bits best interests.

    Bless you.

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  32. That brought me to tears and I wish I could do more then offer kind words. One day she'll be an adult and I'll bet dollars to donuts that she'll be a great person and mother because she had you to help.

    Keep doing what your doing.

    Gotta find some tissues now. Take card.

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  33. Anon, wow, I'm so sorry for the treatment you lived with as a young person. Thank you for sharing and the kind words. God bless.

    kymber, thank you too. This blog isn't only about my lifestyle, survival or guns..I write how I feel...but most of all I write for her.

    Red Woman, sweet lady, I thank you for your prayers.

    Kingturkeyoak. I too am sorry for your lost youth and love. Thank you for the prayers.

    Dani, thank you so very much. I do my best for her. She is my life. And, thank you for being here and hitting that follower button. Ah, heck, now you guys have me in tears and I'm supposed to be the big 'tuff guy...

    Pimpley Bum, Thank you so much. I shall try my best.

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  34. Stephen, I don't even know what to really say, brother. As the father of three little girls, it would rip me apart if I found out they weren't getting the feeling of love and security from me that they need. As we all told Mudbug awhile back-just keep walking the path with that little girl. The Lord has a way of taking care of these things. As I put my girls to bed the other night I told them about a little girl that I read about that needed a little extra prayer. All three said a little something for you and her. I hope you don't mind; I think the Lord listens a little harder to the little ones. Keep talking, Bubba, you're amongst friends.

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  35. Hillbilly, thank you very much, and please tell those three beautiful little girls Little Bit appreciates their prayers as well. Your kindness is beyond mere words. God bless you.

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  36. Stephen, I was reading along just fine, then literally had a physical reaction to LB's words. They cut me deep as a father of two girls. If I ever heard my little one say those words it might literally break me. How a father can be that way is beyond me. You will be her shining star from her childhood memories.

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  37. 45er, I truly understand how you felt. Imagine how I feel. It is important to remember though, she is a happy little girl overall. They don't abuse her physically (if they did these notes would be written from a prison cell) the abuse is absence of attention and indifference. Thank you very much for your kind comments. God bless.

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  38. Stephen...reading through all of these comments makes me very aware of the love that is being sent your way and especially to Little Bit (my goodness she is CUTE!).

    she has her Nana and Papa. she is going to do wonderful things. and all of these lovely internet people are rooting for her.

    neglect is a very horrible form of abuse. but she has YOU and her Nana. she is going to come out just fine! and when she is old enough to read this blog - she will fully understand how much YOU really care about her. and she will feel like a celebrity as so many strangers care about her too.

    YOU are her rock! YOU are my heroe!

    your friend,
    kymber

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  39. All I can say is that she's blessed to have you and Nana. She clearly loves you both and finds refuge and peace with you.

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  40. kymber, thank you so much...she will always have me.

    GoodBadGirl, Thank you. She is my heart.

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  41. Shucks, sorry, it's GoodBagGirl. Sometimes I type too fast.

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