Kids will knock you out completely. They flip your world up side down and back again all in the same moment. They blow up what you thought you knew and make you want to be BETTER every single day. I’ve always believed I was a relatively good person. Never hurt others intentionally. Try to be honest. Respect myself and others. All of that. Seeing the world through the filter of, would I want my 14 year old doing that, saying that, knowing I did or said that, knowing I thought that, thinking that herself, has a real way of putting things in perspective. I haven’t had the usual amount of time to get used to being a mom of a teenager. Usually you have the baby and get to watch them grow up before you get slammed into the position of parent of a high school freshmen. This kid and i have a very different relationship. I met her dad a year and a half ago. When I was falling in love with him I knew he had a teenage daughter who lived with her mother. I knew he thought she was a remarkable child, but don’t all parents think that of their children? I worried about the fact that her dad and I have an age difference that makes me only 9 years older than her. I wondered what the dynamic of our relationship could possibly be. I was in no way prepared to fall head over heals in love with this kid. I had no idea she’d steal my heart entirely. I’m incredibly blessed to have this particular 14 year old. There really aren’t enough words to describe her. She is the most unique person. She’s a mixture of sweet, innocent, and silly, and strong out spoken and sarcastic. From the first moment I spoke to her over FaceTime she decided I was awesome. My blindness had come into play in my relationship, in a good way, more than it ever has in my life. I think it was a safe way for her to interact with me at first. Now it’s become just another part of who I am to her like it is with everyone else i’m close to. But for the first 6 or 7 months I knew her it was, “so Harmony, tell me something else I don’t know about you! How do you do that?????” We spent hours talking about how I text, type, and read braille. She watched me do completely ordinary things like eat or clean the kitchen with utter fascination while I laughed and told her it’s just me being me. Now I get to watch her do her hair and makeup and try like hell to learn which powders highlight and which powders create shadowing. THERE IS A DIFFERENCE! I’ve learned which Ari songs are amazingness and which ones are STUUUUUUUPID! In the middle of having youtube marathons I’ve learned the names of her best friends and the names of the girls she isn’t close with. I’ve learned that math and science are pointless and that lit and social studies can be fun. I’ve spent so much time watching her and learning her and getting to know her, that I forgot that she’s watching me closer than ANYONE in this world ever has. I naively thought that because she doesn’t live with me, because I’m not her mother, that what I do and say and how I act every day doesn’t effect her. The past few weeks have been very educational for me. One night while her daddy and I were on FaceTime with her, I was in a pissy girl mood for whatever reason. I snapped at my boyfriend without thinking and this kid said something to me that has changed the way I make my decisions. She asked why I was mad and joking her dad said, “she has other personalities that you don’t know about. She gets mad.” She said, “she doesn’t get mad at me.” I said, “You’re special kid.” And I laughed. I thought we were still joking. Then the kid says, “But you always say I’m just like Daddy. So what Harmony? Are you fake with me? Is this not how you really are?” And I was completely speechless. My boyfriend saved me in the conversation and bedtime came and we all hung up our phones happy but those words stuck with me. I never would have described myself as fake, ever. But I realized that night that the person I am with that kid is the person I want to be all the time. Am I fake with her? No. Not ever. But would I want her to know the girl I can be when I’m angry? Would I want her to know about the issues I’ve had in my past with body image and self harm? NO, NOT EVER. That conversation with a 14 year old has changed the kind of person I am. I live my every day with a kid filter on. Would I want her to see me do this? How will this effect her? Will this make me a better mom or not? Would I want her doing this when she grows up? Maybe this is how all parents who’ve had their childrens entire lives to get used to being parents feel. But for me it’s the most intense blessing, and the most insane responsibility all in one. I’ve never been more grateful or more afraid of messing up in my life. I thank God and this kid for who she is, and who she’s making me into.