17 and on your own

Recently my neice made a very big decision. She left on a Friday and never came home. Her parents were a little worried, but mostly annoyed at their daughter who was yet again off being irresponsible and not communicating. On Monday she brilliantly wrote on her facebook page “Going to see my parents – how do you think they’ll take it when I tell them I moved out?”

Issue #1 – her parents are her friends on facebook
Issue #2 – she was posting this at 9:30am when she should be in school
Issue #3 – she had told her friends on the weekend that she was kicked out of the house

Unbeknownst to her – her mother was sick of her antics and had taken all of her clothes and all of her things and packed them in bags ready for her to go. This was the final straw in many episodes of broken promises, lies and missing curfew and not coming home. When she finally did come home, things did NOT go so well and she took her things and said that she’d never be back.

I remember 17. I knew everything. I didn’t need my parents telling me what to do. But at 17 I was in college – I was going to school, working, saving to pay for books and my camera and anything else I needed to start my career. I was planning for the future, even if I didn’t know what the future would completely hold. I was going places. I hated living with my parents constant watching eyes and questions about where I was and what I did. But I never stayed away without calling first. Even if if was a lie that I was staying at “Julie’s” when I was really going somewhere else – I at least had the decency to tell them that I wasn’t coming home.

I feel really sympathetic on both sides. I know how hard this has been on my neices parents. They have three kids to worry about and all need attention. But how can you give attention to someone that fights you every step of the way unless it’s negative attention?

My hubby and I have talked at length about the situation and sadly, we saw this coming. Honestly I thought she’d end up pregnant, not that she’d just move out. Ever since she was 13 she’s been trying to make her stake in the world. Now she has that opportunity.

Funny thing is – as much as she’s done to upset and hurt people – I cannot cut her out of my life. She is one of my favourite people and has always loved me. Skinny or fat, she’s loved being with me for me. We have a bond and I think it comes from me only being 13 years older than her. Of anyone I remember everything she’s gone through. Sure she’s mad some really bad decisions and most of mine were mediocre in comparisan, but I know that she’s truly in her heart of hearts a good person.

I refuse to cut her out and that’s why I used facebook to contact her. I just wanted to know she was alive. She was out of the house a week before anyone even told me that she was gone. So I emailed and said “Can you just let me know that you are okay?” She wrote back and trusted me with her cell phone. I called her today and it was so good to hear her voice and be able to talk. It was like no time had passed. I can ask her questions and she answers honestly. Perhaps that’s the problem she had with her parents – they didn’t ask so she didn’t tell.

James and I are starting to talk about the possibility of having our own family. I hope that I can learn from the mistakes of those around us and make a few less of our own. (I’m sure I’m jinxing myself here ;)) I hope that I can never stop asking questions and that together James and I can strike a balance with our kids so they are well rounded but also responsible.

All I can say is that I’m happy that I’ll be able to have a relationship with my neice and that she’s willing to start making efforts to mend some fences with her parents. They love her and she admitted to me that she loves and misses them. I hope we can all find a way to get beyond this situation as in 10 years – what’s it going to matter that she moved out at 17 or 18 – she’s still family and we will still love her.

2 thoughts on “17 and on your own

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *