I knew from day one you were a powerful little being and a force to be reckoned with. The first sign was your aggravation to swaddling. Most newborns feel safe and content being swaddled. Not you. Your arms flailed, your legs kicked, and your little face got red. After several failed attempts your dad and I decided swaddling was not your thing.
You didn’t want to sleep at night. Ever. You screamed at the top of your lungs for hours, and I mean hours. You never grew out of this. Well, you stopped screaming about it; but you still don’t sleep.
At about a year old you didn’t want people holding you or cooing in your face. You nonverbally insisted the adults to get the hell out of your personal space as you tried to slap them in the face if they got too close. I politely explained you were giving them a high-five.
I think you were two or three when we bought a shirt with a tiny satin bow and a pearl in the middle. You rubbed that bow incessantly and didn’t want to remove it. You would’ve worn that same shirt every day. So I started to sew bows on every article of your clothing. Finally I bought packages (hundreds) of these bows and you carried them everywhere. You even used them to sooth you to sleep so I had to sew them to your blankets.
You never responded to the word “no.” Then again, most of us don’t. But you went beyond not liking it. You wouldn’t tolerate it. It triggered tantrums which resulted in time out. You were like “Time out? Are you serious? I’m not sitting in a chair while you watch a timer! You big people are craaaazzy. Oh what? You wanna take away my toy? Big deal. There’s plenty more where that came from.” So we would put you in your bedroom with the intent for you to get tired of screaming and fall asleep. That’s what the “professionals” told us to do. But you didn’t stop. If you did cry yourself to sleep hours later, we would find you on the floor in your doorway. When you woke up you would continue to argue. You never forgot. You obsessed about whatever it was you wanted and couldn’t have. Who the hell were we to tell you, a four-year old, what you can and can’t have?
I had to physically restrain you because your anger would get so out of control. It didn’t take much. Maybe I said no dessert if you didn’t eat dinner. Imagine this tiny blond little girl trying to physically take down her mother for an Oreo cookie.
Dad and I had high hopes for you. We placed you in a variety of activities until you discovered your passion. That passion was dance. You were always a beautiful dancer. It seemed like the one thing that kept your mind focused and relieved your stress. Dance was your drug of choice, until you turned sixteen. Then it was marijuana. Pot relaxed you, but it also made you lazy and complacent and you decided to quit dance. Instead you wanted to vape the stress from your life.
Although I despised the crazy dance mom scene, I supported it because it was good for you. I wasn’t the most domesticated mom but I packed your bags and made your dinner and did your laundry. I even tended to your limited dietary menu (did I forget to mention your EXTREME pickiness when it came to food). You became a vegetarian at the age of six when one of your kindergarten classmates told you chicken tenders were blended chickens. You haven’t eaten meat since that day ten years ago.
You’ve always detested school and I avoided being a homework Nazi. You had enough pressures so I was lenient in areas most parents are strict about. Because you are not like most kids. I had to choose my battles or we’d be fighting non-stop. Heck, we were anyway. With every house rule there was an argument. You didn’t want to hear me speak because my voice annoyed you. Everything I did annoyed you. I couldn’t do anything right and you made it very clear you didn’t like me. So you left.
I was devastated when you moved to North Carolina with your dad. I felt betrayed but figured you would return after being apart from me for a while. After all, I AM your mother and what child actually chooses to leave their mom?
But after a year of separation and minimal communication on your end, I had to dig deep into my soul and figure out how to live life without my only child. I dug and dug through months of emotional turmoil. And do you know what I realized? I realized you are a stronger person than I will ever be. You had the courage to leave Maine and start a new life knowing you would have more opportunities for dance and the arts. You wanted to attend a big school and live in the city, so you did it. I now realize it’s your incredible strength and tenacity that allowed you to make a better choice for you. I admire you for that.
You’ve suffered through some unfortunate family circumstances since the move. I wish I could have protected you. But the universe works in mysterious ways and for some reason North Carolina turned into a Shitshow from Hell.
You were not born to serve me. Sure, I was your portal to earth. But you came here for you; not me. You came here a free person with your own guidance system to tell you right from wrong. I’ve told you for years, when something makes you feel really good, your personal guidance system (God) is telling you you’re doing the right thing. If something makes you feel bad, God is telling you that you are on the wrong path. So why do I feel the need to impose my guidance system on to you? Most parents, me included, want their kids to do things that make the parent feel good. Society has drilled it into parents that we are responsible for your actions. And most parents punish kids when they do something that makes the parent feel bad.
I feel bad when you get into trouble. When you turn to drugs it tells me you don’t care about consequences. But I hope the addiction is more about feeling good than the drugs. The choices you’ve made are leading you down a path towards serious trouble. I feel bad because I don’t think you’ll be happy in a jail cell without freedom. But I can’t allow your actions to govern my emotional well-being. I need to trust that your guidance system will tell you right from wrong. And if you truly feel good about yourself when you get into trouble, perhaps your path isn’t the path I’d hoped it would be. If you choose a life of drugs, lying and stealing; if those things feel good to you, than there is nothing I can do. You’re going to make your own choices and I have to learn to live with that.
What I’m trying to say is that I’m no longer holding you responsible for the way I feel. I have my connection to God and trust you will also be guided. My rules aren’t your rules. My happiness doesn’t depend on your behavior.
You have a diagnosis. You refuse to acknowledge it. That’s your way of saying “nobody knows me better than I know myself.” And you’re right. I’ve used your diagnosis as an excuse for poor choices. Maybe I need to let that go. Maybe you can help me figure this out and together we can find a way to move forward and be happy.
Remember, you’ll never understand me or the adults in your life just as we don’t understand your generation. We grew up very differently. So we need to show patience and respect for one another. I ‘d appreciate it if you’d try to show me some respect by hearing what I have to say. Understand that we all make mistakes. How else will we learn if we don’t make mistakes? You probably look at our mistakes and think “why the hell would I listen to what these dipshits have to say!? Look how well it worked for them.” And you’d be right.
I’ll close by telling you how my inner being (connection to God) sees you. I see you as a loving, confident, strong, intelligent, beautiful, talented, creative, passionate, kind and caring young woman. I see you going places in life. I will do whatever I can to get you into a safe environment so that you can discover that inner voice and grow into the picture of perfection you are. I love you more than you know and I will always support you no matter what.
Unless you abuse an animal. Then you’ll be on your own 😉
Love You Always and Forever,