Andrea, 2, and me Final paragraphs of Andrea's missive home from Spain (see the last three Friday's for prior portions of this letter):

Now it seems so natural and normal to clean up after myself. I get up—I make my bed. I change—I put my clothes away. I cook—I clean up the dishes. And it’s not hard! So why did I find it so difficult before? And patience! It’s not hard either! Well at least pretending you have it isn’t. I haven’t gotten angry or wanted to yell at anybody or just been generally disagreeable since coming here and it’s sooo much better! So why not before? I don’t know. And so now from the bottom of my heart because now I understand—For all the times I screamed at you and told you hateful things and wished I had different parents and lied and was selfish and crabby and didn’t clean up after myself, I‘m sorry!

And for the same number of times you didn’t hit me, didn’t send me away, didn’t hate me and especially for never giving up on me, Thank you! It took a lot! I was not an easy daughter to have. Every time I said “No I can’t” you made me see it through. When I was making things rough on you, you taught me what it really means to be somebody good.…

--Andrea, 15

I remember feeling thrilled when this letter arrived! At last--our oft-times cantankerous daughter appreciated all we'd done for her--what joy! I now realize how suppressive for Andrea had been my label of "difficult child." A self-fulfilling prophesy of sorts. Today I appreciate her fire and her tender insecurities--she, like all of us, was doing the best she could in this condition we call "human." I love her in her entirety: "the good, the bad, the ugly." I practice loving the "whole" of those in my life--not always successfully...it, too, is a process--recognizing how much I want the "whole" of me loved as well.