Monday, January 25, 2016

Mallory's Song

She had feisty eyes when she came into this world…small, wiry, and full of life. I scolded Madi, who was 3-years-old, for pulling her out of her exersaucer, just to learn that she would grab the side and pull herself out at the age of 5-months-old. Madi didn’t make the thing bounce until she was 7-months-old…

Climbing into the dryer, the cabinets, and even out of her crib and leaving the house at 15-months-old, this little girl kept me on my toes. She was named after my love for Dennis Quaid, and my husbands affinity for Cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid).

The Middle Girl…

I was the middle child and knew all-to-well the struggle that comes with that position in the family. The struggle is real. So is the mischief-gene that comes with being the middle child. None-the-less she overcame every possible thing that has been inadvertently thrown at her. The list is long; her brother was born when she was only 11-months-old forcing her out of the position as the baby, she was born on my anniversary; kid can't even get her own day...she lost a dear friend at the age of six, and struggled with death, and at the age of nine she met a little girl who was terribly abused and listened to her horrific stories, which changed this girls view of the world. Her vision now jaded from a young age. But she’s overcome.

She’s overcome the fear of death, which gripped her for years, and the profuse anxiety and fear that came with hearing others abuse stories. Her teachers always had kind things to say but would always add, “She needs some confidence in herself and her choices.” She was always very indecisive, always second guessing herself.

It’s her story to tell, but I can paint enough of the picture for you to let you know that real battles have been fought on our knees as she and I have prayed for peace for her and others. She had to comprehend more than I’ve ever had to. But she’s overcome.

She’s played clarinet, and softball - going from bottom of the roster to MVP at the end of the season. She didn’t make the volleyball team her first year but she asked to be the manager, and if she could just practice with the team to learn the game. The coaches were so impressed with her progress they put her on the team. I watched her become one of the best players they had that year. The parents said it was due to the amount of chicken nuggets she consumed; thus the nickname McMallory.

She’s 17 now.

If you had asked me five years ago what this girl would be like at 17 I’m not sure I would have given the answer that matches what has come to be. She was very dependent on me…she wasn’t very happy to be out of my sight; making it difficult for those who babysat her when Jason and I would take a trip. So it’s been surprising to watch her come into her own these past two years.

She has arrived at 17 crowned as Homecoming Princess, which thrills me because her peers placed her there. She is an officer for her local DECA chapter, her grades are spot-on, her volleyball skills continue to grow, been on her first car date, earned her license, bought her first car, and working at Subway, earning her first paychecks.

It’s been an interesting couple of years. She didn’t want a big party like her sister had at 16; just wanted to be home with family and a friend or two. This child cherishes her family and the little cousins. She has a God-given gift for children, she has always wagged a doll. When we moved into our home in 2004 she was 4-years-old and she brought 92 dolls (of various sizes) with her. That was after paring down. So it’s no surprise she is now working church nursery…like a pro.

Throughout all of her days she has stretched me as a momma, and pushed me to search deeper in prayers, faith, and the ability to speak those truths over her and to her.

She arrives at 17 a beautiful young lady wise beyond her years. And loves the three "S's" of teenage life: Selfies, Sassy, and Socializing!
By the grace of God, she has overcome many things. She was built to persevere, she has made me better.

I love you, Mallory Quade

I wrote the below portion of this blog Fall 2 years ago…I decided to go ahead and publish with her permission, while also trying to write a blog about her turning 17.

(Fall 2014)
The perfect first line…

I’m not sure exactly what that would be for this kid.

Over-comer is really the word that seems to sum her up.

At the heels of 16, I am beginning to learn as much from her as she is learning from me, her momma.

I wonder if people are really cursed…I do believe we have generational curses that typically are lifestyles or learned behaviors handed down to us from our parents, grands, etc. But can someone really just be cursed?

Her little baby belly didn’t like any of the first 6,000 formulas we tried after I was forced to stop nursing because of an infection I had. She was forced to a bottle and many, many nights cried with belly aches until we discovered a soy based formula that would work for her.

By the tender age of 11 months old she became a big sister. Not even a birthday celebrated yet and already the middle child. I am the middle child and can speak from experience that this alone comes with a curse for some odd reason.

A plethora of reasons led to her behavior becoming less than becoming as a toddler. My inconsistency in parenting due to my young age, overwhelmed with three babies, and an absence of God in my life, therefore not really knowing how to parent, or having a place of refuge to run to when I was overwhelmed. Couple this age of misbehavior with adults around us who attempted to shame or mistreat her because they couldn’t deal with this child who just sought attention, and learned early-on she got attention - even though negative - from acting out.

By 6-years-old she suffered the loss of one of her favorite friends. I took her to the funeral home and from that moment forward it altered her. I saw the look on her face when her perception of reality changed. I felt it on me like a heavy, damp blanket. Again, without the presence of God in my life the next couple of years of her crying non-stop while at home - in fear of dying herself - I couldn’t cope the way she needed me to. I rocked her, I scolded her, I calmed her, I screamed at and with her when she and I were both emotionally and physically drained…yet, nothing worked. Therapist would give advice but nothing calmed her while she was at home. I felt as though I was going to have a nervous breakdown, and not really understanding the trauma to her mind until recently. At school she was fine. It was two different lives for her. Now looking back I realized that she didn’t want to be pitied, and didn’t want any of her peers to see her differently. I know that now because of years of dealing with the anxiety she suffers with - but overcoming with every step, everyday. One day while moping through the house, weeping because she was afraid her hair would fall out if she went to sleep, she came to my bedside and said, “Momma, I’m afraid that if I don’t quit worrying the Easter Bunny won’t come see me.” I agreed that he wouldn’t and she stopped. She’s never cried about the fear of dying again.

But at the age of 9-years-old, and with just about a year of a happy, healthy-minded child who’s behavior was perfect at school and much improved at home, she had a friend disclose the details of sexual abuse she was suffering at home. That child was removed from her home and the person was arrested. But my daughter went into a life of sheer panic. She would beg for me to be in her presence at all times. But with time we hit a point of safety in her mind again.

As a very young child Mallory learned this world can devour her, and with sheer fear of the world she lives in, she learned to overcome. As I reflect back over Mallory’s life I see where the chaos calmed. The year I began to put God first in my life, my children also learned to do the same. Many times has this child cried out to Jehovah God for shelter, and many times have I stood with hands raised crying out that he would protect her and her mind. And the darkness that seemed to hover around her has been devoured by the light.

As the storm has calmed in Mallory’s life she still seems to also be that kid that cannot win for losing. It’s always her food that has a hair in it. It’s always her t-shirt that ends up with food on it, or the embarrassing moment happens to her.

I write this today to remind people that you don’t know what others deal with, what people have had to overcome, or what is behind the smile. Regardless, your treatment of each and every situation matters, and no matter how annoyed you are with someone, stop and think about how they perceive you. I promise Mallory’s perception of some of the people in her life has changed due to their rudeness. Over the years of her crying in my arms, I have encouraged her to always mind her words, respect the elders in her life, kill them with kindness, and give it all to God. Trust me, I'm harder on my children than anyone. I expect a lot from them...but I've learned all three are different, and my technique must be.

She came home over the weekend after a horrific/embarrassing incident with her “friends” during an overnight volleyball outing and said, “I don’t even care, mom, I just prayed and gave it to God.”

Amen, Mallory, Amen

Now let me tell you about a beautiful girl who may battle the unseen in a bigger way than others, but how she was naturally gifted with a radiant beauty. This child has the ability to plead a case like no one else I know. She can rationalize and stand-up for what she thinks is right. She has a God-given talent and love for babies, and little ones naturally gravitate towards her. She has wagged a doll from the time she could hold it in her arms. This girl is beginning to take what the world is throwing at her and using it to build a testimony that I cannot wait to see God use in the future. This girl expresses herself well, and with anyone. She’s not afraid to stand up for what she believes in, and that’s a great place to be on the heels of 16. Because I know she has and will continue to persevere, and someday protect those she sees suffering from the reality of this worlds harsh ways.

Even though I have failed her many times, today I write this to say be encouraged, Mallory, for you are smart, you are kind, and you are loved. He created you in his image, and has promised beauty for ashes. Greater is he in you than he in the world…

(Fall 2014)

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