These are two young ladies who amaze me daily. The older is my niece, and the younger is my daughter. Each is so different, yet both are so strong, loving and creative. And I love each of them so very deeply.
Girls scare me. I love being a woman myself, but I'm not really girly. I don't have a great relationship with my own mother, and I have honest fears that I will not be a good mother to my daughter. But then, I have so much stuff to "not do" with a daughter, I am pretty sure I can do a decent job.
My brother, this lovely lady's dad, is down-deep a great person. He's very intelligent, creative and likes to work hard... at times. On the flip side, he's an alcoholic (recovering at times and not at others) and often gets wrapped up in his own stuff. I know that his daughter is dealing with lots of issues with her dad, and I'm really having a hard time getting over the feeling that I would like to kick his butt. She's such an amazing person - which isn't a reason why I think her dad should treat her better (heck, he should treat himself better so he could be a better dad, but that's another rant...) - but she really is. "J" is so smart, creative, social, caring, honest, sensitive, loving... and she is so amazingly strong.
If you are a parent, do you ever get that "Momma Bear" feeling? That "don't mess with MY child or I will cut you" kind of reaction? I know that "J" has a mother who loves her dearly, as well as so many aunts, grandparents, cousins, and friends. All there to support her and take care of her. But it's all so complicated when someone you love is doing something shitty to someone you love and want to care for and protect.
I'm not sure what to do next, other than make more of a presence in "J"'s life. I don't know that it would do any good to kick my brother's ass. Other than make me feel a bit better for about five minutes. I guess one positive thing I can do is add a bit more driving into my life and make "J" a priority in my life. And then, I get the bonus of getting to know her better, and hoping for a closer relationship. Nothing bad in any of that. Maybe it's one of those things that kids do: when only a few kids are together, they don't really care what the other is up to. When lots of kids are interested in what one kid is doing, that one kid seems so much more exciting. I can only hope her dad realizes someday soon just how interested I am in this girl, how so many people are interested in this girl, and how much he is missing.
So this Valentine's Day, I will celebrate the love I have for these girls. Celebrate how lucky my daughter is to have a dad who loves her like crazy and will always be there for her. And how lucky everyone in my family is to have this phenomenal teenager as part of our nutty bunch. And I will keep all the rest in my prayers that someone who has handled this stuff for a millenia can take over what I can't figure out.