What a journey Naomi and Mrs. Miller have been on for the last seven years! I think Naomi is well on her way in life; she is ready for some interesting and exciting changes. Naomi is a courageous, talented, and adventurous young lady. She is fearless in some areas of her life and can win almost anyone's heart. She has a sense of safety and trust in life; and yet, she has had some incredible challenges at a young age. Naomi is ready for expanding, developing, and expressing herself in new ways.
Naomi had certainly proved her readiness to accept challenges. By the end of eighth grade she was an advanced skier, accustomed to the expert slopes. Also, she had come to love reading, and read avidly at a mature level. She did not seem to care much for fashion or flirting with boys but loved children, which made her the favorite babysitter among our neighbors.
Perhaps her greatest challenge was her relationship with her mother, who at this point had been in and out of the state mental institution for years. When Kathleen was not in the hospital, she lived in an apartment in Santa Fe, where often she was extremely disconcerted and barely able to function. Nonetheless, she demanded to see Naomi at least once a week, and called her frequently. Over time, a pattern began to emerge after Naomi's Sunday afternoon visits with her mother: the following Monday she would fall ill.
I worried about the effect Kathleen's illness was having on Naomi. At times I thought it might be her fate to take on her mother's unbalanced state. Then again, I felt that she must face what life dealt her, and that with sufficient inner strength she could forge her own way in her relationship with her mom. Eventually, during the times which were most distressing when I saw that Naomi did not have a sufficient ego barrier to protect herself from the turbulence in