I had a 6 year old daughter at 22 years old. No, I wasn’t a teenage mom. Shyam had a daughter and she became mine. As was expected, it wasn’t all coming-up-roses right from the start. I had to gain her trust and respect. I got the “you’re not my mother” speech more than once and I was confronted with adolescent moods all of the time.
Before I met her, I thought that the world revolved around me. Literally. At least, my world did. And here I was face to face with a little girl with a big personality. She was here to test me. She taught me to be selfless. She taught me to be patient. She taught me many things about myself. And after many trials & tribulations, she made me a better person. She prepared me for motherhood. On top of all that, she has no idea what she has done for me. (Well maybe now she does :P) Having this girl in my life changed me.
She was – as kids often are – downright mean, but I was relentless. When Shyam would let things slide, because she’s daddy’s girl, I wouldn’t. When she would try to get away with things, I would call her on it. I tried to be MY mother to her. Fake it, ’til you make it.
I think it all turned around on her 11th birthday. I had decided to throw her an epic sleepover party. We invited 6 of her closest friends. Some of the moms dropped their daughters off saying, ‘how many girls are you having?’ and walked away with knowing smiles.I was the rookie, who had no clue. I enlisted the help of some close friends and family and we did arts and crafts, modeling, face painting and temporary tattoos among other things. The next day, I was exhausted but it was such great fun and I had won over Aysa and all of her friends. Score!
Fast forward to today 12 years after we met and she has blossomed into a beautiful, strong willed young lady with a good head on her shoulders. She can take a joke which is an endearing quality and one not often found in teenagers. When Shyam and I made fun of her doing the duck mouth in her pictures on Facebook, she embraced it and made fun of us.
She is an amazing big sister and she won’t let Kai get away with anything either. I guess something rubbed off. I know that when he gets older, he will be able to turn to her for advice as she does with me now.
I can’t take the credit because that credit doesn’t belong to me. She has three other parental figures and dozens of aunts, uncles and family friends that have all participated. It takes a village. However, if I even contributed the tiniest amount to making her who she is, then I am proud to call her my daughter from another mother. She is an extension of me albeit not from my womb.
Cherise a.k.a. Mama Cherise