Sunday, February 25, 2007

Suds in the Bucket...

"She was in the backyard - they say it was a little past nine
When her prince pulled up - white pickup truck.
Her folks shoulda seen it comin' - it was only just a matter of time,
Plenty old enough - and you can't stop love.
She stuck a note on the screen door
"Sorry but I gotta go"
That was all she wrote - her mama's heart was broke
That was all she wrote - so the story goes.
Now her Daddy's in the kitchen - starin' out the window
Scratchin' and a rackin' his brains
How could 18 years just up and walk away?
Our little pony tailed girl growed up to be a woman
Now she's gone in the blink of an eye.
She left the suds in the bucket
and the clothes hangin' out on the line"
~Sara Evans

My own brown-haired, green-eyed, pony-tailed girl has grown up. I still picure her 7 year old self wearing a pink flowered dress, laying on her bedroom floor, head propped up in her hands, legs swinging in the air, with a book opened in front of her. She was a sweet and serious little girl who would rather be reading than running and giggling, although she did have a passion for soccer. Brittany was always an unselfish little thing who wouldn't dream of hurting anyone's feelings. She was the girl who, at school parties, would always save the best treats to be taken home and shared with her little sister and brother. She loved, without measure, her Grandma Sannar and her Grandma Harper. Her very favorite afternoons were those days when her Grandma Sannar would pick her up from school and take her for ice cream. That was their special time.

This young girl grew and changed, turning into a teenager. Life changed for us all - I had been a single mom for many years and as Brittany grew older, she became the caretaker for Shilo and Dustin while I was supporting our family with an evening waitressing job. Too much responsibility on the shoulders of a young girl. We lost my mom, Brittanys beloved Grandma, which broke all of our hearts. Then, when we didn't know if we could go on, Riff and his boys entered our lives. After a year and a half, we married and Riff adopted my kids. They now had a Dad who was always there for them, not one who might or might not send a Christmas card once a year. I was able to work just one job and Brittany could once again become a child. With the adoption, Brittany had written to her birth father, outlining the reasons she wanted Riff to adopt her. He signed the paperwork, never acknowledging her letter. Even though she wanted the adoption, Brittany felt disposable, that she was worth nothing and could just be thrown away. During her teenage years my sweet, shy, happy little girl struggled with depression. She also put alot of pressure on herself to get perfect grades and to get into a college of her choice. She worked her shifts and anyone else's who happened to call in sick at our local Burger King, socking the money away for college. Brittany is a very talented singer with a powerful voice that will bring tears to your eyes. She badly wanted to participate in drama, but being shy, would chicken out each year at audition time. Finally, her junior year, she decided to forge ahead, landing the lead role in the spring play. She did a fantastic job, won an award and was selected for the state competition. During her senior year, she decided to take early graduation since her credits were all in. She had already been accepted into Concordia University in Portland with a 4 year scholarship. To get a head start, Brittany moved into the dorms at our local community college in Powell, Wyoming.

We were in the process of moving to Oregon, so with Brittany's move into the dorms and Kevin staying with a close family friend, Shilo, Dustin and I joined Riff on the coast in March. We traveled back to Wyoming in May for Kevin and Brittanys graduation, loaded Brittany up and brought her back with us. In the meantime, we had learned that Brittany had been dating Chris, a young man in his 20's. (a story for another time!) Brittany turned 18 on May 24th. One afternoon a few days after her birthday, Riff came home from work to find Brittany gone and a note on the dining room table.
"Dear Mom and Dad,
I love you, but I can't stay here. I love Chris, too and my life is with him -"

She had headed back, alone, to Wyoming. The dreams of love overshadowing the dreams of college.

It has been a long and rocky road for her and Chris the last two years, but they have remained together. Last week, we received two letters in the mail. One from Brittany and one from Chris. They both told the same story ~
"Dear Mom and Dad,
Chris and I are having a baby..."

I've had a week to wrap my mind around this. I wanted so much more for my pony-tailed girl ~ but who says that motherhood isn't everything?

This is okay.
It is good.

"She left the sud's in the bucket and the clothes hangin' out on the line..."


Stacey said...

Wow, This story makes me want to cry heart felt tears, neither happy or sad, but both mixed together. I can picture it all so vividly.
We all love Brittany & hope for the best for her & her new family!

Wende said... what do the babies get to call you? Grandma?? Grammie?

Congratulations, Paula. You'll make a wonderful grandma! Oh, yes you will!

Anonymous said...

"when her friends pulled up...white pickup truck" haha i have a white pick-up truck...named so excited to be an aunt.yay 4 me...

my favorite line tho is...
"plenty old enuf,u cant stop love"

Liquid Sky Arts said...

What a story, she sounds like she has such a brave & sweet spirit. I see a lot of travel in your future with the arrival of these sweet grandbabies. :)

Sarah and Jack said...

I can understand why you have mixed feelings. Even though Jack is really still a baby, it is so darn hard to realize he is actually his very own person, who will sometimes whatever he pleases as he grows and becomes his own person. I hope this turns out to be nothing but a good thing for you all.

monique said...

That sure was a very thouchy post. Both sad and beautiful!
Congratulations!How wonderful to become a grandmother.

kansasrose said...

Got a huge lump in my throat...congratulations Paula! What a beautiful post you write of have done well and she sounds like a wonderful young woman! You will make a fantastic grandma although you look and are so young! I will be lifting up your daughter for a healthy pregnancy and birth...God Bless! Jenny

Lucy said...

I had a lump in my throat, too, reading of your family's trials and Brittany's own journey finding herself. She sounds like a very resourceful young woman with a good head on her shoulders. She may put off school for a while as she embarks on this journey of Motherhood, but hopefully she will find a way to balance both school and raising a child so she doesn't struggle in the future raising a family. Either way, I know she has a wonderful Mother to support her in her decisions, no matter what. hugs :)


Adrienne said...

Oh, Paula -

I have been reading through all of your posts from the very first one you did when you started your blog. Your mailbox would have been full with comments from me so I have forced myself to not leave posts - until now. I can't remain silent after reading this one.

I sat here with tears for your mother heart and for Brittany and the journey she has taken to get her to where she is today. But I know the ending of the story behind the letter about the baby. What a precious little grandson you have!

I've been there, too. Our daughter chose a tough pathway, and I've had a similar letter in my mailbox and shed buckets of tears for a much-loved daughter. But now she has 3 little ones and a sweet hubby who loves her dearly. Of course none of us would trade any of them for the whole world! Hers is a story of continuing success, and we are so proud of her. Thank you for your openness and honesty here. It means a lot to more of us than you know.

From one gramma to another,