I come here to these pages to work through my relationship with my daughter. There are not too many guidebooks on parenting adults. The guidebooks are always about raising young ‘uns. For me, for many years now, it’s been all about adults.
This child of mine. The daughter, the wispy hair, the beautiful face, the strong and stubborn stance. She has fought, she has won, she is strong. Too strong, she does not need me, she doesn’t need her family anymore.
The last time we were together, we argued. I am hurt, she doesn’t realize how much pain I endure because of her life choices. She tells me that I am selfish, and it is not about me.
Of course, I know that.
My darling daughter, aren’t you at least interested? Don’t you want to know how I hurt because you choose a life that is 800 miles away from me? You choose a life that I cannot participate in. You have pushed me out of your life by circumstance.
If I refuse, if I am stubborn as she is, it costs me dearly. Plane tickets, lost work, lost time, missing my home. And still she says, “you’re selfish mother”.
She wants to compare my yesterday to her tomorrow. She would never treat her children the way that I treated mine. Her childhood wasn’t good, it was lonely and filled with deprivation. I told her, “you have no way of knowing how you will treat your children when they are older”. But she is not listening. She tells me over and over “I would never…”.
I am not sure how she sees herself, or her life. I do not know enough about it. I know that I have been angry too. And she throws her history at me as if it is broken glass. “Here” she says, “pick up the pieces.” My response has not always been patient.
I sent her * her childhood in pictures; she got every photo that I ever printed of her. The box was so heavy that it cost three times what I normally pay to mail to Virginia. I was hoping she could see some goodness in that childhood. I was hoping she would see some redemption in her adolescence. I have always been smitten with her, hence the thousands of pictures. But she did not, at least not in a way that she could redeem me, her mother.
This time, I am patient. I commit to myself that I will listen. I really want to know why she is so angry.
The other agenda, my agenda, is that I don’t want to be battered with my child’s childhood. I have been blamed for everything, from being not enough of a mother to being too much of a mother.
I know that I DIDN’T ALWAYS GET IT RIGHT.
I have to recommit to listening and being there for her. I must recommit because I become weary. Do I have to listen to everything over and over again?
Yes, yes, I do.
To me, she is beyond beautiful. I see her vulnerability. I see her wishes for her future. I hear her pain. She is so emotionally intelligent, and her intuition is striking. She genuinely wants to know; she truly wants information that will help her understand.
When I watch her with her sons, I see something incredibly special. Hopefully, she will be a much better mother than me. I think that all parents want that. We all want to look ahead to a future that is better and brighter.
Who can know what the love for a child will do to you? How do I describe the compelling feeling of loving someone as intensely and wholly as I do my child? How do I tell you that if you choose to have children, you will not ever “get over it”? Your children stay with you for your entire life. They may not be physically near, but they are always psychically near. You will always want happiness and love for them, always.