As a mother, I can attest that a child is both magical and heart rending. From the moment you know you have a life inside you, the weight of every choice, every decision is on your mind. You look at life with new perspective and second guess yourself constantly.
Those baby years, before school. Where everything is new, they test their independence, learn to walk, talk and run. You look out for every possible thing that can harm them, without totally wrapping them up in cotton wool. Sometimes we learn best when we fall. The simple joys of splashing in a puddle, chasing the dog or making a squiggle and calling it “me!” with absolute pride.
Then it’s time for school. Those junior years where every day is a story waiting to be told. Adventure awaits around every corner. Sport is fun, parties are best, and being able to tell of the new books or thing that was learned. Discovering that the world is bigger than mum and dad’s yard, or even that of the family. Getting excited over all the possibilities because there is little to no fear, and dreams are still attainable.
Of course, high school arrives and along with it, another bid for independence. Ennui settles in, and cynicism soon follows. Quickly lessons are learned that adults have feet of clay and are not the superheros once thought. Promises are broken because life is messy and they cannot be privy to every adult decision. They still need protecting to a degree. Finding the balance between letting them go and keeping them close. All the while knowing that they will test out sex and drugs and you somehow just have to stay “cool” about it.
Then it is university or work. And they push away completely in their 20s. Off to figure out what the actual dream is, fully exposed to a very cruel and harsh world. A world where mistakes are not forgiven easily, and people would sooner not talk to you. As a parent all you can do is watch and hope they come home sometimes. You have to wait, for if you push they will leave.
This period of the 20-something carving out their place in the world is rough. And I know it is rough on them too. I can’t fix any problems, I can only watch and wait.
It is this watching and waiting that is causing heartache. Ms 24 has again had a meltdown and her texts and messaging created a fear that is indescribable. I am often the brunt of her meltdowns, and I understand logically that it is because she feels safe with me that she can do this. However, I had to make a hard choice yesterday. I had to choose to go no contact with her for the foreseeable future.
I deal with her outbursts on a regular basis – every second week or so. So usually, I can let it wash over me. This time, she sent the messages to someone too far away, who called me sobbing and wondering if Ms 24 was still alive. The reluctance on Ms 24’s part to respond and only doing so at the promise of involving authorities, proved to be my undoing. I sit here drugged so that I can get through my day. My body feels as though a piece is missing.
Ms 24 knows she needs help, but does not want to put in the effort. I have done everything, and I really mean everything, in my power (where I have both hands tied behind my back) to help. I left her with a promise – the next outburst would be dealt with by professionals. I can no longer be in the line of fire. Ms 24 refuses to talk to her father – and he has agreed to try and reach her. Everything is my fault – all her life choices, my fault.
It is almost as though I have lost my child. When R locked the dog out last night, I had a breakdown, because it felt like I was doing to my child what we were doing to the dog. The dog was being a shit – but I seriously could not cope.
Logically I know I am doing the right thing. And still I second guess and wonder. Where the fuck did I go wrong?
Not a happy post.