Am I Still Her Mother?
Experience has taught me that not all things can be repaired or extinguished from our memories. When I was 18 years old I found myself in a predicament that I never thought i would find myself in at all. I was pregnant. I was almost 4 months pregnant when I graduated from high school. This is not something I am proud of in the least, although I love my daughter fiercely and would not change it for the world.
I find myself with that same child now. She is 20 years old. I am almost 4o years old. In fact, in 40 days it will be the black cloud birthday. I am her mother which makes it very challenging to be objective with certain situations. I mean, she lives at home still because she is in college, so I still ask questions like, Where are you going? Who are you going with? What time will you be home? She, however, looks at me when I ask such things, as if I’m some stranger. Like anyone, frankly, she doesn’t believe a stranger needs to know her business. She is respectful however and reluctantly tells me everything, which I’m thankful for. I mean she tells me EVERYTHING!! Which brings me to the part where I advise all of you other mothers DO NOT SHOW YOUR EMOTIONS ON YOUR FACE, whatever you do!! Let her/him tell you whatever it is. Try very very hard not to give away the fact that you are dying inside just a little bit as he/she tells you about their visit to the Dr. of their own accord to get an IUD/other form of birth control. Or the guy she met at college who is supernice and cute and so mature (he is 30) and wants to go have coffee with her.
Listen and try not to freak out!!! Just breathe listen and then try very hard to execute your opinion on the situation without freaking out!! Im not always very good at this part. You want them to keep talking to you. You want them to know that you are there to listen and try to understand what they are doing. Even if inside you’re screaming “Over my dead, goddamned body!”
She is now an adult, in her second year of college, and I have learned that I must stand my ground with my opinion of what I ADVISE she do, but we are at a crossroads with me being able to TELL her WHAT to do. This is devastating. I still want control. The realization that you truly have to start letting your child go and make some mistakes is terrifying. There is this acute awareness within your mommy heart that they may only be listening to you with one ear, while internally eyes are rolling and your adult CHILD is wondering why you don’t trust her to make adult decisions STILL!
She has one foot out the door and the other is merely a tip toe inside the entry way. Its painful, so heartbreaking, but yet breathtaking at the same time. I find myself choked up almost on a daily basis whenever I think of her leaving me and going full on out into the world. This nasty, hateful, scary, world.
She is a good girl. She is so much braver than I was at this age. She has started her own photography business. She is getting her photography/business degree. She is working full time on top of that!! She is responsible about child bearing and her health , which I wasn’t. She is a good big sister to her younger sisters. She is driven, determined, doesn’t do drugs or drink and she knows exactly what she wants from life. I have never been more proud!
Im proud of me as well!! I raised her and her sisters almost primarily on my own.
Though it makes me cringe every single time I think of her having sex, or dating a man I think is to old for her, or driving, or being out late, or moving out on her own, or any of those things we start doing and experiencing in early adulthood, I really do try to remind myself that she is doing and experiencing all the things I was unable to. I was 18 years old and raising a baby. I was struggling working a job that paid me minimum wage and struggling to put food on the table and pay bills. I was going back to school full time at the age of 32 and trying to raise four daughters on my own after a rough divorce from their father.
She is doing exactly what I wanted her to do which was NOT to follow in my foot steps. I wanted more for her. I wanted her to do all this adventuring and experiencing of life. I wanted her to be childless until she had lived life. I wanted her to date instead of settling for a man who wasn’t right for her. I wanted her to go on adventures and travel. I wanted her to make a ton of friends and fight for something that will change the world. She is doing all those things, and even though I don’t think I will ever stop thinking of her as my baby, I can look at her through wide open eyes and see the women she is destined to become.