Until recently I always had a good relationship with my daughter. I was not a perfect mom by any stretch of the imagination but I loved her with my whole heart and more than anyone else EVER in my life. I tried to make our life something special. Of course, being a single mom without child support money wasn’t anything I had ever dreamed of for myself but she was very much worth it.
My idea of the type of Mom I wanted to be was pretty fixed. I had a bit of a challenging youth because my mother was quite strict and I was quite a rebel so I decided early to never do that to my daughter. She led a life full of independence and travel and adventure … and also one with a mom who partied too much, was not a typical stay-at-home-mom, and who didn’t focus on finances or stability nearly enough.
Yet until recently I honestly thought there had always been a balance. Not quite yin and yang of course because a child needs more than that. But a balance where I gave enough of what should have been a positive in her life balanced against my faults and failures as a mother.
I don’t want to air out all our dirty laundry and I certainly can’t share too much detail because it’s not my history alone I would be sharing. For me, though, I’ve been living a heartbreak since this all started. I always viewed us a team and partners in our life together. If you follow along with my blog you’ll know this is the first non-travel/expat post in months and the reason is because I had writer’s block over it all.
There is probably always some reckoning for a child as they slip into adulthood. It must happen to all parents (and all kids!). For me, I just didn’t think our life had been so bad. As I come to grips with everything, I wonder …. What if I had been a bully or an abuser? Or a strict parent who gave her daughter no freedoms? Or a highly religious person? Or … or … or …. . If she had lived with her dad instead of me, how different would her life be today? What would her future look like? How much of the world would she have seen? How much of life would she have experienced to build her fundamental values upon?
Am I being narcissistic and not acknowledging how shite a parent I really was? Should I stop pretending there are worse parents? I honestly don’t know at this point. But I guess the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. It’s just the hardest thing in the world to admit that I’m the source of any pain for the person in the world I love the most.
I have absolutely zero control over this moment in time (because anything I did is in the past and I can’t change that), which makes it all the harder. At the start of it, I still messaged every week or so to be sure she knew ‘Mommy loves you’ and so she’d never doubt that I didn’t care that she was going through something. A friend who knows and cares about us both recommended I stop messaging her for the time being so I’ve done that now but it’s hard. So hard. At the end of the day, though, we need to do what’s best for our children and if that is giving space as they sort out their place in this world and the relationship they want to have with us as adults then that is what we have to do.
It is with my WHOLE HEART that I hope my daughter forgives me and that we can return to having (what is for me) a normal relationship. She’s my greatest joy, my biggest love, and even given all of the above … she has grown into a lovely person. Raising a child who is giving, philanthropic, adventurous, and currently in pre-med in London is a source of pride for me.
My mom and I talked about how I “took my life to a different level” (her words) than she did. And that’s what my daughter is doing now. It’s such a beautiful thing to know that she’s achieving more and is in a better place than I was at her age. I can’t wait to see where she lands in life (and around the globe) over the next five and 10 years because it’s going to be a wonderful ride, that I know for sure.
© 2018, Angela Carson and ExpatAngela.com. All rights reserved. Do not copy and reproduce text or images without permission.