O’ Beautiful, Child of Mine

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.

JB Collection

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.

Love is Not Enough

All through this week, I’ve been getting the signal that loving people is not enough to make my relationships what I want them to be. My daughter left our home at Christmas this year, angry and fed up with me and her sister. I let her be angry. I didn’t try to talk with her, nor influence what she was thinking or any of that. I just let her be. She lives 800 miles away and my time with her is very limited.

It’s frustrating because I m.i.s.s. her and my grandsons e.v.e.r.y. s.i.n.g.l.e. d.a.y.

So I let her be, but she was angry. She tells me “why should I be angry when I can just move on?” And what she means is, move on without me. That’s what she means. Yep, she is kinda mean.

I cannot live without her. I need to see my daughter, I need to touch my daughter. I need to know that my daughter is okay. That is my need – not hers. BTW, she is 37 years old.

I am in so much more need than my daughter is. She is busy, a single mother of two boys. I am disabled and live my days at home alone. It is I who want to spend time with her. It is I who has a need for contact. I want to see my daughter and touch her.

I kept texting her and she never responded. Of course, my need to see her grew. Her sons talked to me and I cherished their words. The thing is she has no way of knowing anything about me. I have to attend to her to get her to see how I feel. She will never know unless I attend to her. I can’t just love her from afar. It won’t work, not if I want a loving relationship with my daughter.

Yesterday, I was talking with my son. He was on the edge a meltdown and we were talking about all the parenting stuff. I told him that my confidence came from being loved by my parents. But it wasn’t just being loved, it was feeling loved. That came from being attended to. When my parents paid attention to me, when they provided for me, when I got the dress I wanted for school when I was 11, I was feeling loved. They were attending to me. Reaching out to be concerned about the kids’ lives, talking to them, being there in times of crisis, that’s part of the love package.

I want my daughter to feel loved. I want my daughter to feel that love is flexible; if her beliefs and actions change, my love will not change. I will follow her wherever she goes, and I will take action to show her that I love her.

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