Thursday, July 05, 2012

Adopting Strays

There's a big reason that I never go to the Humane Society. I hate seeing animals in cages and I want to bring them all home. Every single one. I don't have the space or the finances to do so, no matter what my heart tells me, so I avoid that place like the plague. And now it seems I've found a new kind of stray. Teenage girls.

I know, right? Weird. Crazy. Wtf is wrong with me? As much as my own teenager bugs me, I love her more and there are lots of things I like about her being around. And then I meet her friends and, since they're not mine, I can appreciate those things about them all the more. And I don't know what's going on, because I don't remember these problems when I was younger, but girls these days seem to be having such a hard time. Of course we all had problems with our parents. We were all trying to grow up and figure out our lives and how to find our way in the world. We had opinions. We had frustrations. But we dealt with them. My friend T was the exception. Her dad was some kind of drug lord and abused all of his kids and locked them in closets and other really awful things. T took it upon herself to go to the police and get the phones tapped so that she could get her younger siblings out of there and away from him. She was so strong; we admired her so much. But again, she was the exception.

Every time I turn around these days, some girl is exposed to horrible behavior or tragically depressed or completely lost, my own included. And they're not really strays, they have families, but I want to bring them home all the same because their own families don't seem to care.

Take C. I've known her for a couple of years and just adore her. C is beautiful and kind and honest and one of D's best friends. She's sassy (which of course I love!) and agrees with me when D is being ridiculous and unrealistic. She is so easy to get along with. I don't know what her mom's problem is. Her parents are divorced and her mom seems to think of her only when she wants to use her to get back at her dad. First, C was told to go live with her dad because mom just didn't want her around. Then suddenly, she wants to see her all the time and retain custody of her. For the money? That's the only thing I could think of, because when she didn't get it, because poor C had to testify against her, she stopped wanting her around again.

And how has all of this bouncing around affected her? As beautiful and healthy-looking as she is, she doesn't see herself that way. She doesn't eat. D is constantly worried about this. I pack extra tasty snacks in D's lunch to try to tempt C into eating. I make sure she knows that she is always welcome at our house. She needs a mommy and I try to substitute for that as much as I can. I'd take her in in a heartbeat.

I met H at D's birthday party. Yeah, she's a little chunky. It's especially noticeable around the other girls who all weigh an average of about 90 pounds. But she's adorable. Cute. Funny. Friendly. Sweet. D found out yesterday that she tried to kill herself for the second time in three weeks and for the third time in total. It's absolutely heart-breaking. More so because it appears (from the outside) that her mom isn't paying attention.

Why are these girls so unhappy? They are wonderful, beautiful people and they don't see it. From where I sit, their moms don't see it either. We all know I'm not perfect, but it breaks my heart when D is struggling. And these girls are breaking my heart. I want to bring them home and feed them and mommy them and tell them how much they mean to the world.

There's only so much I can actually do. I don't see these girls every day. And maybe I'm wrong. Maybe their parents are struggling just as much as I am to understand their daughters. But maybe if they know that just one more person cares about them and sees them for the lovely young women they are becoming, they'll see it too. And maybe there will be one or two less heartbreaks in the world.


Serial Monogamist said...

I think about this stuff a lot, because I have a 17 year old step-niece who is struggling. And while I don't want to assume anything about these girls you're talking about, I do see from interacting with my niece and seeing her in the social sphere with her friends (her big network is Tumblr) that "having issues" is as trendy as ever. It's classic attention-getting behavior to have your friends "discover" that you're cutting, or took too many of your meds, or whatever. And then all your friends rally around you and hold you up because they want to support you and it would be soooo awful if their friend committed suicide. I know that there's genuine pain in there (my step-niece has two POS parents, so this is no surprise) but I hate the degree to which being miserable is trendy. It's certainly not new, but from this side of 30 it's even more aggravating than it was when I was 14 and a girl I knew ruined a perfectly good party by "trying to kill herself." The party then turned into 4 hours of girls crying and telling her how beautiful she was and how much she had to live for.

Again, this rant may be totally unrelated to the girls you're talking about. But I kind of hope it isn't. I hope that they're just feeding into the adolescent angst and that once their hormones regulate a bit they'll realize that it's actually not so bad to take care of yourself and be happy.

Kat said...

You are very right and I hope you are right in these cases also. As a mom, I probably take too much to heart.

I have also noticed a disturbing trend with teenage girls and I know a lot of it is simply attention-seeking and an unhealthy interest in creating unnecessary drama. It's almost like their lives are just too easy and since there isn't anything really substantial to rebel against, they're rebelling against themselves.

Unfortunately, it takes away from the girls that really need the help. I'll be glad when this particular trend is over.

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