In the recent weeks, I have been exposed to several significant changes in my life that have led me to a new starting point. A new starting point that feels like the right place to be. The best way I can describe the last nine months of my life to you, where you can partially understand it, would be to have you envision a runner. This runner has trained days, months and years to compete in the marathon of their dreams. There are little marathons along the way the runner participates, getting their feet wet enough to make sure they have what it takes to compete in the real deal. The day approaches for the said marathon competition, the runner arrives, excited, with their heart racing and a courage within their soul like they have never felt before. After all, this is what they have waited and worked so hard for. They register at the gate, receive their number, trot over to the sidelines to stretch and warm their muscles. They call for the line up, the ribbon is cut and the marathon begins. The runner works tirelessly, rounds the last curve and can see the finish line at the end. Their heart is again racing, they can feel victory in their reach, only to be surprised as they cross the finish line to see the other marathoner jumping on bicycles and heading off for the second course of the TRIATHALON. You see, where the runner thought they were so well ready and trained, their attention to details was distracted by the excitement of the marathon. They failed to notice this race was much more than they were prepared for. So is my life!
I have deleted my earlier posts and rants for honestly, an extreme want to not be embarrassed by one more single person reading any of those. There are many days behind me and (what I hope) many, many more in front of me, it is in looking forward that I will gain insight and grow, not in looking back.
Welcome to my new world.
A few days ago, I was reading a magazine that included an article on getting stuck in the “drift”. The article asked, of the last three big decisions in your life, how many were made by yourself? How many were made by outside factors? My answer to the question, all three were made by outside factors. evidentially, my answer was incorrect, and the article proceeded to instruct me to swim my way out of the drift (a rut), take control of my life, make my own decisions, and get the hell off of my ass. So, that is what I did. My first decision was a large, complicated and extremely emotional one. I packed my daughters belongings and sent her to live the last six months of her senior year with her father.
My daughter is eighteen years old, and though she is not close to being a “bad” kid, she has a lot of mental and emotional challenges that I simply cannot handle on my own. She has always been a drama queen, loner, and not very focused on anything in life. I guess my daughter could be called a drifter. Looking back over the years, I wonder even if it would have been better for her if I had made this decision years ago. My sons were not around much during her teenage years and my ex husband and I spent so much time focused on our careers that she was home alone more than she should have been. I tried everything I could to encourage her and support her into extracurricular activities, though nothing ever seemed to capture her attention. She played soccer, volleyball, ran track, was a cheerleader, played the clarinet in band, etc. She enroll into a new program with enthusiasm only to lose the want in less than weeks and beg to quit. I never let her quit, my children were raised “If you begin something, you finish it” bred in their blood. This not allowing her to quit rule, led to endless arguments and many days of depression for her. As the years progressed, she learned, if she never enrolled in anything, she never had to try or worry about having to complete the task. Eventually, she began to turn into someone, that many times, I was not very fond of. She seemed to not be able to get any meaningful relationships, male or female. Her personality could conform at a drop of a hat, just to “fit” with the person in her presence. Some days I still wonder if she knows if any one thing that SHE likes, without the influence of others. Over time, rose-colored glasses seemingly became permanently attached to her eyes. that, or a love swooned dreamer took the place of what was once my daughter. In the last few years, she cannot seem to get enough attention and I am referring to male attention. It does not matter what age, race, height, eye color, if you flirt with her, she is yours. It hasn’t been just the last few months since my separation, but a normal routine for a while now, to meet a random stranger on Facebook and send her personal information to them. I would not want to know how many times strangers have been in my neighborhood or passed by our drive looking for my daughter. She also seems to have a continual problem with lying. She lies about everything. A few months ago, these issues combined, were close to pushing me over the edge.
Selfishly, it was much more than I wanted or could handle in my life. I was struggling with the loss of two loves in my life, the loss of my career and the new-found freedom of being the only income into a three party household. My son was preparing to leave for the US Air Force and my main focus was on maintaining a small bit of stability in my children’s lives until God led me to a path that would pull us through the emotional warfare waged in my heart. It took everything I had to throw the covers off of my body and force my feet onto the floor every morning. During this process, my daughter found a way to take advantage of me, given my mental state at that time. She began to break the rules more and more, she was increasingly lazy (if that is possible) and refused to take part in anything that involved helping me in any way. At the end of the summer, my nerves were shot and I was the closest to an emotional collapse that I have ever been. I made the decision to send her to her fathers for a few weeks, we both needed space. I had yelled, cursed, talked rationally, treated her with respect, begged, bartered, etc. Nothing was getting her attention. embarrassingly and with much guilt, I have to say, those two and half weeks of any empty home gave me the peace to find my boot strings and pull myself back up into the rat race. With a better perception of life and rested mind, she returned in late August to finish her senior year of high school.
It wasn’t long after that return, that things also returned to normal between she and I. The lack of communication and respect between us has simply been mounting ever since. The straw that broke the camels back came a few weeks ago. I was actually checking the school calendar so my ex husband and I could discuss when my daughter would be at what home during the Thanksgiving break. It was then that I noticed report cards had been issued three days before. I logged the computer off and spent over an hour searching her room to find nothing. This was a Friday afternoon, I decided to not mention the report card to her, track her activities over the weekend and approach her with the new-found info if she had not handed it over by Tuesday. The weekend passed, she snuck out of the home Friday and Saturday night, spent her time sleeping or laying on the couch watching love movies and did not complete any of the chores list I had given her. Tuesday came, long story short, no report card had been given to me, I approached her, she claimed it was in her room , two hours later, she claimed to not be able to find it. I inquired about why it had been a week since the report was issued and it still had not been given to me to which she claimed to only be failing one of four classes. Lies! The report card was found in her school locker the next day and she was failing three of four classes. At wit’s end, I phoned her father in tears and after a few hours of conversation, I made the decision for her to move to his home.
I came home, informed her of her future, gave her a timeframe for everything to be packed, and I watched last Friday as my two sons drove down, loaded my youngest sons truck with her belongings, and pulled out of the parking lot.
The three days that she has been gone have been bittersweet. On the bitter side, I feel I have failed my daughter and failed as a Mother. All of my life, all I have ever dreamed of is being a mom, a good role model for my kids and the type of Grandmother whose home is always filled with the scent of cookies, warmth and laughter. I keep thinking there had to be more that I could have done. Am I giving up to easy? Am I being selfish and hurting my child in the process? On the bittersweet mid-line, I have spent 22 years raising a family, tending to kids, a husband and a home. Suddenly, I have none of the above. On the sweet side, I feel this is the first day of the rest of my life. I am held back by no obligations, no commitments, no responsibilities. If I want to pack my bags, sell everything I own and backpack across the country, there is no one to tell me I cannot. Now to take the bitter, the bittersweet and the sweet, and find a way to combine them into a new path, a new destiny.
To return to my visual description of my life, The runner walked away from the triathlon feeling a failure. they were so sure they were ready for the race, there was nothing but disappointment and shame running through their veins as they made their way back home. Days pass, more marathons will be researched. The runners heart has not given up the want, the dream or the hope: it’s just a matter of researching all the options, paying attention to the small details and training with dedication and diligence and with time, the correct marathon will come around, and all of their hard work will pay off.
I have faith!
You can make life what you want it to be through belief in yourself:
What is meant to be will always find a way:
It is better to be hated for who you are than to be loved for someone you are not:
Don’t let what others think decide who you are.
Be bold and courageous, when you look back on your life, you will regret the things you didn’t do more than the things that you did do.
What appears to be the end, is really a new begining.