I'm giving the "strength" key to my daughter, Ali. Her life has been turned upside down over the last 2 years, let me explain. I had been successful at hiding her Dad's addictions up until this point, I had even played off his mood swings and anger by not engaging and even acting as if everything was fine. Nearly 2 years ago, I filed for legal separation, I could no longer enable this behavior. It was at this time, she began to see the real issues, I was no longer there to hide things. While I was starting to experience peace, the walls started to cave in around Ali. There was nothing I could do to protect her.
Ali seemed to take it all in stride for months, and tried to appease both of her parents. Then slowly, painfully, the truth of events that had happened at her dad's, and the gravity of what she was dealing with started to emerge. She started to confide in me, and started having a clear understanding that some things that were going on were not right. She also started setting boundaries, and leaving situations where she felt uncomfortable. At the ripe age of 16, she learned what took me nearly 40 years to learn, you have to love yourself. In loving yourself, you must draw boundaries. This is extremely difficult when it involves people you love.
Not only has she lived through this, she has excelled. She is now able to see options in difficult situations that she wasn't able to see before. She sees everything is not black and white, and no I do not have to do what I'm not comfortable doing. I have to mention she has maintained a 4.0 through all of this, got 2nd in conference for Softball, and just qualified for National Honor Society.
Thank you, my sweet Ali, for showing me what STRENGTH is, you have earned this key, keep it close to your heart.