Some days are so difficult that I start to question why I chose to have children. The stress in my life is so incredibly high right now that I often find myself thinking about how different life would be if I had remained childless. I am ashamed to admit that there are days when I wish I had taken a different path. To remedy these feelings, I look through old photographs. And then, I remember. Justin's first fourteen years were the happiest of my life. My daughter, at twelve, still brings me so much joy. She is the reason that I get out of bed each day. I need to work hard to provide her with some sense of normalcy. As much as possible, we hide the anger, the tears, the fear, so she can look back at her childhood and remember something other than her brother's problems. I worry constantly that she may choose the same road as her brother. I do not think I could handle losing both of my children to drugs. I pray each day that my son will find his way back to us, his family, because then I will be able to look at photographs like these without tears - only smiles and fond memories.
This is me, my son and daughter exactly twelve years ago. I remember the overwhelming love and pride I felt as this picture was being snapped. Happy twelfth birthday daughter of mine. Happier days ahead.