Last summer my oldest daughter came to me and said “Mom I want to go live with my dad.” My head almost exploded. My ego screamed NO!!! I’ve raised her for 14 years. She cannot live with someone else. She’s MY daughter. How could she not want to be with me? My heart hurts.
It took quite a few conversations with some of the people closest to me before I calmed down. I tried to put myself in my daughters shoes. At one point in time I too was a teenager choosing between which parent I want to live with. I can understand the struggle.
Once we knew her decision was a serious one we prepared. All the i’s were dotted and all the t’s crossed. We changed the custody agreement and prepared for my daughter to move. All the way up until this week I hoped she would change her mind. She didn’t.
I was a mess. Last weekend I found myself crying big sobbing tears in my kitchen. Then Monday I spent the day pretending that everything was going to be alright by coloring and watching Sex And The City. I was in complete denial that she was about to move over 600 miles away.
Then Tuesday my daughter’s father arrived to pick up her and her things. The pressure on my chest was immense. All the way up until this day she could have changed her mind. She could have said “Mommy I want to stay with you.” but she didn’t. I didn’t know whether to cry or scream.
Wednesday bright and early they left. I hugged her tight knowing the next time she would be in my house would be on her Spring Break. Her father reassured me he would take good care of her. None of that made it hurt any less. That was not my fear. I was mourning the moments I would miss with my daughter.
She was my first baby. I remember being a scared 16 year old and asking the nurses to please leave her in my room with me overnight after she was born. For 14 years she was never away more than a month or two. I raised her for many years by myself sacrificing so much to be a mom. My heart hurts.
I posted on Facebook expressing my sadness. Then I got it… the message I had feared would come. The one that was asking what I did to make my daughter not want to live with me. In my head I screamed “NOTHING… there was nothing I did wrong. I was a good mom. I did the very best I could.” Instead I just politely said she just wanted to live with her dad.
She has always missed our home since we moved over six years ago. This military lifestyle wasn’t something she asked for. All our friends and family live up in New York. Everyone she has known since birth. This is also her opportunity to have a different kind of relationship with her dad.
Could I blame her? No! We are both country girls at heart. At 13 when my parents split up I chose to live with my dad too. It doesn’t make it hurt any less. My heart hurts.
Everyone was saying my heart would be broken, I don’t know how you could do that. My heart is broken . I can’t explain the pain I am feeling. There’s an emptiness that resides in my heart. I felt abandoned and like some how I failed as a mom.
I am so thankful got those few people who have allowed me to express my feelings without trying to rationalize them. Those people who understood I didn’t do anything to make her want to leave.. I did the best I could and instead of alienating her I supported her.
Right now it’s too fresh to fully process my lessons. All parents know that sometimes we have to make hard decisions. Sometimes parenting hurts. You’re doing just fine.