In honor of Mother's Day, I sat down with the grandmother of one of my favorite Ormond Beach kids to talk about her second round of parenting.
Leah Davis is quite possibly the cutest 6-year-old in Ormond Beach.
So much so, that without my editor realizing it until it was too late, I put her in our paper twice in one issue. What can I say? I'm a total sucker for kids who give me hugs.
While I've always admired her parents for being so active in keeping up with her zillions of extracurriculars, I recently found out that Beth and Chris Davis are actually not her parents, but her grandparents.
Though Beth Davis raised her daughter to be an independent woman, her daughter fell into an abusive relationship that flipped the former homecoming queen's life upside down. The one good thing for Beth that came out of her daughter's terrible situation was little Leah.
"She was just not prepared to be a mom," Beth Davis said. "They do love Leah, but love isn't enough. You have to be able to take care of someone, and they just weren't capable."
Despite the fact that they were looking forward to retirement, Beth and Chris Davis say they are enjoying this second round of parenting and going through it with a lot more patience. The grandparents said Leah's intelligence is what makes her interested in the world around her — and what makes her fun to bring places. She's in the gifted program for her kindergarten class at Tomoka Elementary School, and her IQ is only two percentage points shy of qualifying for Mensa.
"She's very portable," Beth Davis laughed. "Fishing, music festivals, art festivals — we take her everywhere. Not only does she get these experiences, but we get to see the world through her eyes, and she sees everything, every detail, like a colored rock on the ground that we would just overlook."
Though Leah's parents wanted to keep her, they didn't meet the requirements that the Department of Children and Families gave them, and Beth and Chris Davis were left with two choices: adopt Leah, or give her to foster care. Though they had only been married for a few short years and had both just gotten all their kids out of the house, they made the decision to adopt Leah from her daughter.
"I'm 53, and my husband is 58," Beth Davis chuckled. "We had all these grand delusions of traveling. But we gave up that life so Leah would always be in hers. That's what you do when you're a parent. You sacrifice your life for your kids — and your grandkids."