I've had several requests from people to explain who Karlie is and how she came to be a part of our family. So, I thought I would try my best to capture how our lives have changed over the past nine months.
As you know, we moved into our new home on September 30th of last year. We kicked off our first day in our house by eating wings from the local wing place on the furniture-less living room floor, and praying together that the Lord would use our home to honor him and minister to other people. We didn't have a clue that exactly one month from that day that the Lord would take us up on that request.
The first three weeks in our house were filled with a unpacking, a one week vacation to California, and a week of me being gone all day every day for opera. I had hardly gotten to even see my house during the daylight!
After we had been here three weeks, we found out about a girl who needed a place to live. Karlie was a 17-year-old high school senior with striking blond hair, beautiful blue eyes, and a laugh that you can hear from a mile away. Long story short, her father had unexpectedly passed away a couple of years before, and her new home situation since then was not ideal. So, it was a perfect storm. She needed a home, and we had three empty bedrooms.
We knew Karlie from church and knew she was a great girl, so after finding out about her need, Mark and I said "Are you thinking what I'm thinking", and within twenty-four hours we decided that we really wanted her to move in with us. (Crazy, I know, but when you hear that still, small voice, you listen.) So, that Saturday, she came over and we talked about what she could expect, and she decided to move in on a "trial basis". And, as they say, the rest is history.
We skipped the diapers and went straight to high school.
So, what's it like living with a teenager? Well, I'm definitely up on my cool youtube videos and lingo. Our front door is like a swinging gate, and our back door - well, let's just say we are air conditioning the neighborhood. (-: Our trampoline is getting used, and one bathroom could win a competition for the most toothpaste residue around a sink. Christmas morning became even better than I thought possible. I have a personal fashion consultant, and Melvin and Boo got a new friend named Bella. It means late and loud get-togethers, and lots of music. There's dance parties and lots of laughing. There's scholarship applications. Due to our house becoming party central, our refrigerator has become a free for all, meaning a half a gallon of milk might only last one day, and a pound of peanut butter usually lasts about a week. Ha. It means helping with homework, listening to lots of speeches for class, and holding up flashcards for tests. But you know what? I love every second of it.
Living with a teenager also means late night talks about boys and future husbands. It means dealing with hurting hearts and mean girls. It means curfews and an occasional broken curfew. (-: It means talking about dreams and college and aspirations and faith. It brings a close eye to the way Mark and I talk to each other. It challenges my fortitude when I sew a prom dress thirty minutes before the date gets there. And I love every second of it.
But beware, having a teenager become part of your family will change you. It will stir these protective and fierce feelings of love inside you. It will make your heart melt when a phone call ends with "I love you, Kathryn". It will make your heart ache with the thought of her going off to college and leaving the house too quiet. It might give you some rose colored glasses - as Mark would say, "she's perfect". It will teach you to make your marriage one that is a witness and an encouragement. It will scare you when you get asked really deep and meaningful questions. And it will make you want to go postal on anyone who is hurtful to her. And it teaches you even more about sacrificial love. And you know what? I love every second of it.
We are so thankful the Lord has allowed us to have this girl become part of our lives, and couldn't imagine life without her. We always knew we wanted daughters, but didn't expect to get one quite so soon. And it doesn't hurt that we have the same shoe size. (-: As much as we are dreading her leaving for school, we take comfort in the fact that she will be coming home for weekends, Christmas, and summers, and she will always be a part of our family.
I love you, my little lamb chop!