If you have read this column over the years, you will know that the one thing I wanted in life that I was denied was a daughter.
I accepted the life I was given years ago, no dolls, no dresses, no hair bows, and have spent the last 23 years embracing being the mother of sons. I have sat through football games and went camping with the Boy Scouts, lived through numerous frogs and lizards bought into the house and broken up fights. I have cleaned up sunflower seed shells from the carpet, played matchbox cars and patched up everything from furniture to knees to sheet rock.
I did it all happily; thankful that God had seen fit to give me any children, much less two sons that adore me. But there were times, I admit, that my heart would ache just a little.
That was, until six years ago, when Marisa Crum entered my life.
It seems fitting that it was because of boys that I met her. Marisa’s older brother, Jarrod, played football and baseball with our son Scotty and our families befriended each other, her parents, Melissa and Jarrod, kind enough to share their daughter with me.
And so she became our Marisa.
I went to her softball games and soccer matches — a game that I still don’t quite understand. I took pictures and videos of her at bat and in the field. She has ridden in my car to away Demons games and I reveled in her teenage girl conversation and insights. I have received phone calls, hugs, texts and sighs.
When she went looking for a prom dress, I got a preview and then we went to see her dressed up for the prom both years she attended. I have met her friends and been invited to her birthday parties. I have given her my opinion on clothes and boys and college, all graciously accepted and politely ignored. When I have crossed the line that stands between teenage girls and adults, I have gotten an eye roll a time or two, thrilling me — because to me it meant that Marisa had listened to me — even if she did think what I was saying was dumb.
Our Marisa graduates with honors on Saturday from Warner Robins High School and is determined to go off to college. I had this great plan — stay here and go off later — which she dismissed before the words were out of my mouth.
A beautiful girl, inside and out, her parents have done a tremendous job raising Marisa. She is kind and independent, funny and attentive. She is comfortable with little kids, her peers and with adults from 21 to 91. She is not intimidated, knows the value of hard work and respects herself and others. She is the perfect teenage girl.
She will leave in the fall and I expect the ache in my heart will return then. Like my own children, her world will be more her own and my time with her will be less and less. Wherever life takes Marisa — and I believe it will take her far — I owe her and her parents a debt of gratitude for letting me share in her life and love her.
Happy graduation to our Marisa — Warner Robins High School Class of 2017. May God bless you and keep you all the days of your life.
Alline Kent can be contacted at email@example.com.