On Lost Trust

Can you judge someone for crimes not committed against you? Can you look at someone that you once trusted, after hearing something devastating about their past, and see them as exactly the same person that they were a moment ago? How do you move on from that?

One of my daughters, now an adult of 19, broke up with her boyfriend of 3 years about a year ago. He had trouble with the truth. Overall he was a nice guy, he cared about her, but the relationship reached its end, as they tend to do with young love and they both moved on. However, she carried the hurt with her. It took her a year to decide to date someone new.

She seemed to become almost obsessed with her new beau, constantly telling me all of the good things about him and spending as much time with him as she possibly could, even going so far as to break ‘curfew’ (very unlike her) a few times before she came to her senses and realized that the time she tells me she will be home is a courtesy, not a rule. She lives under my roof. The rule is that she gives me a time and she adheres to it. I recognize that she is now considered an adult. But I am still a parent that will wake up and search for her child with fear in her heart if she isn’t where she said she would be. I don’t know how else to be.

Back to the boyfriend. I had heard whispers of him from others, that he was a “player” and that he was “controlling.” My daughter is strong and independent when it comes to getting bossed around so I am sure the controlling part of it didn’t last long. In fact, she pointed out that she could quite possibly be the first woman in his life to tell him where to go when he tried to dictate her choices. He seems to be a perfectionist, getting excellent grades, carrying one certificate from college and going on to a long term goal in the legal world. He is involved in school programs, president of the council. On paper he seems perfect.

Her tears this morning tore at me. He confessed to having cheated on not one, but two of his last two girlfriends. The player theory confirmed. But it isn’t even that. Of course, he told her that this is different, that he would never to that to her, that she is special. She told him that the beginning of each new relationship is always different and special and filled with romance and good intentions, and that eventually the newness wears off and then relationships require work and maintenance. She is scared. She is worried. What will happen if they are together in two years and she goes off to the bigger university to finish her last four years of college and she is away from him? What happens if he grows bored with her? She doesn’t want to be that clingy girl that practically stalks her boyfriend, yet she doesn’t want to be the clueless girl at home thinking her boyfriend is fast asleep only to find out later that he had wandered to another’s bed.

She made him promise that if he ever even thought of cheating on her that he would break up with her first. Like her mother, she would rather get dumped than find out that she wasn’t enough, wasn’t actually that special or that loved. Of course, if he is going to cheat and that is his character, then it is doubtful that he will take her feelings into consideration before he does it. She is torn. She does not want to break up with him for things that he didn’t do to her. Had she known, she never would have gotten involved in the first place. She is not one to trust blindly. Trust is earned. Trust is built. How can she get that back? The doubt remains. How does she get past it? How does she forget that he has done this, more than once, and not worry that she will be the next clueless woman on the list?

I feel for her. No, she can’t punish him for something he hasn’t done to her. However, you wouldn’t hire a jewel thief to work in your jewelry store either, not without serious trepidation. Her heart is a precious jewel, carefully guarded and filled with hopes and dreams. Maybe this is different for him. Maybe this time he won’t go down that road. I told her to slow down, to get to know him better, to let him earn her trust.

Maybe this relationship is irreparable, maybe not. Nobody is perfect, people make mistakes. How many times are we allowed to make the same mistake and still think we have a valid excuse? Maybe she can get past it. What I do know for sure is that she shouldn’t have to struggle. She is young, just starting her life, and the fidelity of her partner isn’t something that should be piled on top of her list of invisible medical issues. I hope he treats her heart carefully, because if one more man lets her down it will surely deepen a scar that she shouldn’t have in the first place.

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Day by Day

Things are getting better at home. My troubled daughter has come around and seems to be finding herself, pulling herself out of the mess that she created and standing on her own. She straightened out her grades, cut contact with some very poor influences in her life, and has made a solid effort at home to be part of our family activities and chores. I am very proud of her. I have been trying so hard to be supportive of her, to stand behind her and let her make her choices but to be there when she needs guidance. She is learning to talk to me. I am learning to listen. Even though some of her fears don’t make sense to me I am learning to respect that they are very real to her and they need to be addressed. Our relationship has improved. The relationship between her and her twin has improved, although two sixteen year old girls in the same household are never going to see eye to eye, I think it is better.  I still hear lots of yelling about clothes, shoes, and there are a lot of “MOM!!!!’s” trailing up the stairs, but things are better. I am thankful that she has found her way, and thankful that I have been there for her throughout, letting her know that no matter what happens, no matter what mistakes are made, that I will always love her and be there for her, even when I am angry.

Her twin is fighting her own battles right now. She is torn between being an adolescent and a woman. Her body has developed. She is a beautiful girl and people are starting to notice. She has a boyfriend, but he is insecure with her and tells her little lies to impress her, sometimes big lies. I have explained to her that a person that lies about things that don’t matter will never be truthful when it comes to something important. She knows this. She has lost her trust in him but still cares for him deeply. I feel her pain. There is nothing I can do but let it run it’s course and let her find her own way. She is a smart girl. She will figure it out. I will be here for her when he lets her down, and I will be here when she stands up for herself and tells him goodbye. I will also be here for her when she spends her time crying tears over the loss of a teenage love. I remember those days, I feel her pain and indecision. He wants to step forward in their relationship, she is not ready. She is standing her ground and I am proud of her.

Me…. I am okay. I am feeling blessed. My son has been fairly healthy. We have been working and playing outside, painting, landscaping, playing in the mud and running through the sprinklers..things that the girls and I rarely did together growing up. I now realize that you truly need to “dance in the rain” before the rain stops – before your little one thinks dancing in the rain is silly and would rather hang out with friends. I am determined to let my last child play in the mud, help paint the house, dig holes in the yard, jump in the lake and do all of those messy things that perfect parents just don’t let their kids do. There are rules, of course, but why not? Why not let him get all muddy? Why not let him paint the birdhouse whatever color he wants? Why not?

My girls need guidance, they need their mom right now. My little man needs his Mommy to read him stories and give him love, cuddles and to watch him grow into a fine young man, a young man that doesn’t follow in his father’s addictive footsteps. He needs careful guidance so he can learn to make the right choices.

Love? I think love has passed through my life and gone. I don’t think that I will find it again. I wish I could. I wish it was out there for me. I am not pursuing anything and the odds of meeting someone in my life focused on my children and school are slim. I don’t really mind. I am independent. I rarely ask for help and when I do I don’t ask twice. Usually that means that I end up doing it myself. In the last month I have done a lot of things for the first time, such as change the battery in the lawn mower, learn how to use a voltage meter to find the short in the wiring of my lawn mower, patch holes in the wall, sand down my cupboards to make them look new again before refinishing, rewire the wiring for the air conditioner so that we didn’t melt in our own home, and etc etc. These things may not be a huge accomplishment for some people, but I am not that mechanical and I don’t have money to spend on a repairman… so I learn by myself. I teach my daughters as I learn. These are things that people should know how to do. There is no sense in being completely reliant on someone else to fix things.

Yet, I honestly do sometimes wish there was someone there with us to actually do these things for me. Sometimes I get very tired of being the strong independent single parent, especially when I get frustrated when I am trying to make something work and feel so helpless. Sometimes I wish there was someone else to run get the kids, or maybe make dinner, or even mow the yard. But, there isn’t, and no matter how much I long for those little things that a person takes for granted in a relationship, I am not seeking love. Maybe someday I will get lucky and it will find me. Who knows. Maybe tomorrow I will feel differently.

Peace. I can feel it ahead. I am happy for that. I am blessed with a beautiful family, and for that I am very thankful.

How many times will I let him break my heart?

I guess the title of this entry says it all. How many times will I allow him to break my heart? How many times will I allow him to walk into my life and then walk out again without consequence? I don’t mean that I should be carrying out some sort of justice for him, the consequences for his actions will catch up with him sooner or later…. I mean, how many times will I answer his “hello” or his “I miss you” before my brain overrides the stupidity of my heart and I ignore him. 

He was here again, may still be here for all I know. With his father. He sent me a message on my birthday saying he was on his way, that he had planned it around my birthday, even though he was a day off. Romantic that I am, I knew he was lying, but I let it rest. He told me how much he missed me, how much he couldn’t wait to see me… to hug me, hold me, love me. My heart tripled it’s pace in anticipation, while my brain screamed and kicked and jumped up and down in a full out tantrum.

I heard from him for a few days, off and on, telling me how his ex wouldn’t let him see his son because he hadn’t notified her far enough in advance that he was back in the state for a few weeks, complaining on how hard life was on him. It upset me, although I didn’t say it. You see, he dug his own hole there.  His ex is an awful woman, evil to the core, but he chose to leave. He left his son behind and deep down I know that he was aware that he would lose his son in the process. He fought, a little, but he could have done more. He just…. gave up. Just like he does on everything else. The moment something becomes difficult he begins searching on the other side of the fence for something that is easier. When he thinks he has found it he is out the door and gone……. until things get difficult there…. then he looks again, sometimes backwards, sometimes forwards.

I know this of him. I know he is unfaithful. I know he lies. I know he cheats over and over again. I know he has the ability and charm within him to make me get down on my knees and…. no, not that you pervert…. get down on my knees and beg for him to stay. I know he can make my heart do a double back flip and land a perfect 10 right into his arms with just a smile and a few words. I know all of this of him and yet when he calls, I can’t ignore him. When he messages me at 3 a.m. I can’t ignore the sound. My strength is growing, I guess… I have made it a full week without sending him a message. Of course, that was only after he made arrangements to come see us, stay the night and then didn’t follow through with it. We haven’t spoken since. I guess something came up. Maybe he has gone back home to Montana again. 

She thinks he’s perfect. She thinks he is being honest and faithful. She still believes his lies. Only because she is far away, safely tucked into a world that he hasn’t yet left a trail through. She thinks she knows him but still has so much to learn. I hate her because she has him, yet I pity her for the pain that will eventually come. I don’t think anyone deserves the hurt that he leaves when he waltzes out of your life without a word. She may think it is eternal but he has already proven that his love for her is only skin deep, that he will not be and has not been faithful to her.

Where does she thinks he has gone on those lonely nights when he his here and she calls and can’t reach him? Does she believe his lies, that he is too tired, or his phone didn’t work? Maybe for now. I know I used to believe them, until eventually it hurt too bad to think about it and I just let him lie. Sooner or later someone will tell her. I honestly hope they do, before she gets in too deep. It won’t be me. I may want to lash out at her for stealing him away while we were dating and making arrangements to move in with me.  I hate how she has her relationship date set up two months before he actually left me…. but deep down I know that SHE probably didn’t know, that SHE didn’t realize that he was already in a relationship….and that is why I don’t approach her. The fault is probably not hers. I am not vindictive. I don’t even want him back. I just think that if I were her, I would want to know. Sometimes I think about sending her an anonymous message, so that it doesn’t come from what she will just consider a jealous ex and blow it off. Then I think of how it would appear and I can’t bring myself to do it.

The question is….. should she know? Should someone tell her? If it were me I would want to know. 

As for me, and my heart, I am doing better. I am learning to shield myself from him. Even if the temptation is there, if I want to run to him, I have been able to gloss over the hurt and the lies with skepticism and doubt from the beginning. I know now, that there will never be trust between us. I know now that being his friend would be impossible if he lived near. I know now that I can’t let myself believe in him. It is easier when I don’t hear from him. The days go by more smoothly. I still think of him often, but every once in awhile I come across a day that I look back and realize that I hadn’t thought of him at all. So, if I am having one day, that means it will turn into one week, then maybe two. I find that on those rare days I don’t hurt as much. When I do think of him the emotions start to fly and my heart begins to ache and the tears will inadvertently find their way out. I wish I had more control over it. I wish that I hadn’t truly loved him as much as I did…. because the hurt should be gone by now.

So, how many times will I let him break my heart? No more. It is done. My heart is my own and even if I long for him and miss him so much… even if I find myself crying in the middle of the night missing him…. I won’t allow him in again. My heart needs to rebuild. He keeps trying to maintain a relationship. He gets jealous if I have a date. He gets angry and even though he tells me he knows I can do what I want and its his own fault……… he tries to maintain a degree of control, that I will be here with open arms each time he comes back home without her. I can’t be that woman. Never again.

Birthday Cakes, Monster Trucks and Heads?

Jacob will be turning five this month. I took him in and let him pick out his birthday cake early. A monster truck cake was his choice…. As we finished ordering I said to my daughter,  “It’s nice to order ahead.”

I heard a gasp and looked down to see my son’s shocked expression. He looked truly hurt. “But Mom,” he shouted,  “I don’t want A HEAD! I picked the monster truck!”

It took some time before I was able to stifle my laughter long enough to explain to him that I didn’t actually order him a “head” cake.

Please go away… I don’t want to be your friend.

I don’t understand why he can’t understand. He put me through hell. I would say I hate him, but it isn’t even that. I feel indifferent. I don’t care if I ever see him again. He drug me away from my family and then treated me like dirt. The only thing he ever gave me that brought me joy was our son, and for that I will always be thankful. Our son is my little ray of sunshine and has given me reasons to smile when I have been in my darkest moments.

I moved back home to get away from him and to be near my family. He moved back to the area about a year later. It makes sense, we are both from here. Only now he stops in at my work because he goes by it every day. He comes in and stands near my desk and talks to me. I am friendly, I smile and accommodate him if he has a question or needs information. I talk about our son, try to find something, anything, to say.

He doesn’t seem to get it. Yes, I have to see him every other weekend for visitation exchange. I have to tolerate his presence, his phone calls when there are things involving our son. But for some reason he comes to me like we are friends and I don’t understand why. I am not his friend. He seems oblivious to the past. I honestly think he has forgotten much of it. I am positive that much of it was forgotten immediately afterwards in the haze of his booze-soaked brain.  Yes, he has sobered up, mostly. He hasn’t quit completely but he can no longer afford to drink all night every night because he would be fired very quickly and his entire future and retirement is based around his high paying job. I guess his job was more of a reason to get it under control than his children or I ever were. I am glad that he has done that, because it has allowed his son a chance to get to know his dad. I watch him carefully, let him know that I AM watching and that I will keep watching as long as he is in our son’s life. I wasn’t trying to rob a son of a father or a father of a son. I was trying to protect myself and my children from the hell that they had been subjected to.

I can’t comprehend how he can come to my work and talk as if nothing happened, as if he hadn’t crushed everything in me that made me a strong person. I know I have to play nice, and I know that if I told him to leave his anger would follow and he would probably try to take me back to court. He can afford it. I can’t.

We are not friends anymore. I don’t like him. The sight of his truck makes me cringe. The smell that emanates from his tainted breath when he stands near me makes me gag. The entire inside of my body quivers and shakes and wants to separate from my body and hide under my desk the moment he walks in the front door.

I don’t want to invite him to our family affairs, to Jake’s birthday parties, to events not meant to include him. He can have a birthday party for him and his family if he wants to because our lives are separate now. Yes, we will need to share events as he gets older and there are school programs, events and so on. I understand that. I have raised both of my daughters on my own and know the drill on sharing parenting moments.

It only happens once a week or so, but it is enough. More than enough. Each time I see him pull in I feel a huge weight in my chest, and it is hard to breathe. I become tense, nervous, I feel like I am trapped in a cage and I am ever so thankful that my mother is usually across the hall and my father just down it because if he made one move or said one foul thing he would get balled up into a little ball and thrown out the door…while it was still closed.

The sad part is that he doesn’t even realize he is doing it. It isn’t his quest for power, I think he his just that damn lonely and without friends that I am the closest thing he has. No, this is not about control, but it doesn’t matter… it makes me extremely uncomfortable and even though I am trying so hard to accept that he will, in fact, always be somewhere in my life, I just can’t stop myself from reacting so strongly. In my defense, my body has every right to react that way to him, I just wish I could control it a little more…….

I just want to live my quiet little life and not have it interrupted by his presence unless it is necessary. I don’t need the reminders. I need time to mentally prepare myself when I am going to see him, and unexpected visits do not allow for that. I can get along with him when I have to, for my son’s sake, but I shouldn’t have to be his friend.

Little boys are superheros in disguise…

jacobJacob is Jacob. He will be five in April.  He is all boy, from the top of his head to the tips of his little toes. He likes to run and jump, drive cars over the dog, flush interesting and sometimes expensive things down the toilet, chase his sisters around with his toy sword and pretend he is conquering giants, rip the knees out of every pair of jeans he owns in less than a week, play in the dirt… and sometimes I think he even eats it. He likes to play with cars, ride on four wheelers and snowmobiles, drive his little snowmobile around the yard and giggle when he runs into something that he shouldn’t.  He likes to snowboard (or try to) and ride his bike.  He likes to jump in mud puddles, color pictures of all of the different superheros and eat food on my new sectional sofa. He likes to climb trees, play in the lake and tap on the glass of the fish tank. He likes to put his superhero masks and clothes on and save the world, he likes to play steam roller and wheel barrel. He likes to snuggle up with me and watch a movie, giggle and laugh and be tickled. He will sing his ABC’s but will throw a number in there just to let me know that he isn’t so interested in that particular song. He likes to say his numbers out of order just because he can. Oh, he can do it the right way. He just doesn’t want to.

I was upset when his teacher told me that he was behind. She said that my little boy couldn’t write his name and that the age of four he really should be able to write it, as well as recognize all of the letters of the alphabet and his numbers up to 20. Super. While we were in conferences he painted a picture in the other room with his sister and interestingly enough he painted his name on his picture when his big sister asked him and told him which letters to write.  Funny how that works.

I understand the desire for learning, to fill our children with knowledge when they are young, because they are at a age when they are taking it all in. But why must we shove these things down their throats? Why force learning upon them so young? He isn’t in first grade, or even kindergarten and because of his lack of interest he most likely will go to one more year of preschool. He doesn’t care. He knows his letters. He knows his numbers. He has two fifteen year old sisters. The child gets educated, sometimes on things he shouldn’t. But he just doesn’t care. He doesn’t want to learn those things. He wants to know how birds fly, where the dinnasours went, and if sharks can come out of the ocean and into the lake? He wants to know how to put the gas in his snowmobile, how long his head will fit in his helmet, when he will be big enough to get a real Iron Man suit and buy a big truck. He wants to know what will happen if he throws his blanket into the spinning ceiling fan and if I will notice that he dropped his toothbrush down the drain.  He wants to know when Grandpa is taking him fishing again, and if Grandma will pick him up from daycare so he can get a treat afterwards.

They tell us we should stop and smell the roses, that we need to learn how to relax and enjoy life. They want us to try to make our lives stress free, but from a very young age we do nothing but attempt to pound knowledge into the brains of our offspring, shoving them all the way full, because they are, after all, little sponges. Why must we fill the sponge completely full immediately? Why not let them learn how to relax, to lay on the grass and look at the clouds, to take the time to stretch before they get out of bed? Why can’t kids be kids? It is no wonder we have things like high blood pressure and a world full of stressed out and neurotic grown ups, myself included.

Let them learn to love life, to enjoy things, to explore and have fun before they are shoved into the crazy life that we all complain about. I am not saying that we should let our children play in the back yard and eat dirt until they are eighteen, happily shoving them out into the world uneducated and unprepared.  I am not saying they should be without discipline or education. I am just saying that I think we are pushing so hard that we push the desire to even care right out of them.

Honestly, I did let the concern grow in my mind. I started to doubt myself and my choices. Then I remembered that we engage him in learning activities constantly at home. He might be counting his race cars or trying to write the word “Spiderman” but it is STILL learning. He is learning through play. Still, though, she placed the fear in me that maybe I am parenting wrong and that maybe I should be pushing him harder, that maybe he is ready and I am just not nurturing it enough. He proved me wrong himself.

We are embarking on an eight hour car trip this weekend. I always try to put a backpack of activities together for Jacob so that he has something to do. We were in the store and I spotted a preschool activity book. I looked at it for awhile and finally decided to just ask him, “Jacob, if Mommy gets this for you, would you practice your letters?”

He just grinned at me, and said, “Nope. But if you buy me THAT book (he pointed to a race car coloring book) I will practice coloring my race cars.”

Yep. Not ready, not interested, doesn’t even care. I had to laugh at his quick wit and was reminded, again, that his brain works just fine… and even if it didn’t, he would still be my perfect little boy.  We didn’t get either book. I instead printed out several coloring pages with superheros, cars, trucks and animals and put them in a binder for him to color on our trip. Of course, I couldn’t help sneaking in a few pages with letters and numbers and placed them strategically between his pictures. Perhaps he will come upon one and take interest. Probably not. Either way, I think I will let my little boy be just what he is supposed to be right now… a little boy.

Trials, Tribulations and Great Sorrow

This last week has been a very difficult time. One of my daughters, at fifteen, thinks that she is ready for this world and all that it has to offer. I am a strict parent. I am the first to admit it. I also know that sometimes I am too strict and that, just like when you get nervous riding a horse and hold the reins drawn in too tightly, you can cause an explosion of anger that can damage yourself and everyone around you. She struggles with self-esteem. Over the last year her father has all but walked out of their lives (she has a twin sister) in lieu of what his new girlfriend wants. She suffers from fairly well controlled ADHD, and responsibility has never been her strong suit. It is a daily challenge, but we make it through and in the end I know she will be okay. She made a big mistake. She fell for the super cute boy. The super cute boy asked for pictures. She obliged. I recently had to contact the super cute boy and explain to him the laws on child pornography and the distribution of such pornography and that some parents have access to complete text logs. The pictures have been deleted, and removed, from all known sources. There is nothing, absolutely NOTHING that I can do beyond that to take them from the unknown sources. Hopefully this won’t come back to haunt her later. She, of course, lost every privilege known to a teenager. I didn’t yell at her, even though I had to bite my tongue and dig my fingernails into my palms to keep from doing so. I spoke to her calmly, quietly. She had no answers to the biggest question that I had. Why?

I spent most of the week walking on eggshells around her, until on when Thursday I decided that I couldn’t keep doing it. I couldn’t tiptoe around it anymore. I was in constant contact with her school counselor (she has regular sessions with her) all week and slowly felt that the entire event was shifting to a place that I think will neither help, nor teach my daughter a lesson. She acted inappropriately. She behaved irresponsibly. There are consequences to every choice, good or bad. She started playing the victim. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am her mom and I hate seeing her hurt, seeing her cry, seeing the utter humiliation on her face when she realized what was happening, but I also know that if we step in front of every consequence, if we help her make excuses for her choices and back off on other rules because she is just “so bummed out” then we are not, ultimately, helping her at all. It breaks my heart. Tiny little pieces, everywhere. She is that boy’s victim, I understand that and believe me, I am angry at the boy, angry enough to consider driving over to his house and making it clear that I am not afraid of going to prison (not really, prison would terrify me but he doesn’t know that). I am angry because he “talked” her into it. I am angry at her. I am angry at myself for not realizing that that is what he was doing and that my daughter, who craves attention, would fall right into the most classic trap of teenage boys out there.

She is pushing me. She is asking to do things, like drive the car, when I have already stated that she must have all C’s or better to get behind the wheel and she currently has  a D. She knows this rule. But she is trying to turn this rule into something that doesn’t matter in lieu of the terrible things that have happened. Yes, it was terrible that he shared those pictures. But he shouldn’t have had them to share. I blame her, I blame me. I question my choices, my parenting style, everything.

On Friday my mother called me from Arizona. You see, my aunt passed away in July after a long battle with lung cancer. She was an amazing woman. My amazing uncle stayed by her side and took care of every aspect of her care. They had been friends from childhood and their love was truly amazing. My uncle passed away on Friday. His heart gave out while he was vacationing in a foreign country. We are working with the embassy to bring him home. We don’t know when that will be. We don’t know how long it will take or what the procedure is. It is a process. The loss that our family feels has shaken us all. Our only consolation is that theirs was a great love and he seemed so lost without her. Now they are together again. When I spoke to my father on the phone he was so broken, so hurt. His family consisted of his father and mother and his big brother. He lost his father when I was an infant, his mother in 2010, his brother’s wife 7 months ago and now his big brother. His entire immediate family is gone. I can only be there, listen, and hope that a man as stubborn and hard loving as my beloved father will be able to work through his grief, again.

On Friday night my daughter challenged me. I had spent the afternoon crying, crying for my uncle, my aunt, my dad, crying for my cousins because they lost both parents so quickly. Crying for myself. We are a close family. We always have been. With that comes the deep sorrow of losing someone close to you when others might not understand your pain. I had finally stopped crying and we were watching TV and I was joking around with her sister about her phone and she said, “Shut up, you’re being annoying.” I was baffled. We don’t talk like this in our home. It is rude, disrespectful and I know my mouth dropped open. My day had been rough already. She was already in trouble for sending pictures out. I lost it. I yelled, I ranted, I went on and on and she went stomping back to her room. I followed her. I calmed in mid-hallway but the challenge had been issued and I decided that it was time to make her face up to her actions.

I told her that she wasn’t allowed to speak that way in our home, and that she was going to start being respectful of those around her, including her siblings. She screamed about NOT being respected, I calmly explained that it is earned and it is not something that is just passed out because you share a gene pool. She screamed that she hated me. I told her that was okay, because I loved her. She screamed that she wanted me to send her away. I told her no, I wasn’t going to do that. I explained that the only “away” that there was was to her father’s house and she immediately screamed that she didn’t want to be there, that I should send her to a boarding school, just anywhere that she never had to see me again. She screamed that she would go to the school counselor and tell them she wanted to be put into the foster system. I asked her on what grounds she thought they would even begin to consider that. She had no answer and it made her even madder. I didn’t back down. She told me to get out of her room. I remained in her doorway, the whole time with my heart just crumbling at her cruel words and keeping it together because she probably really needed to scream just out of sheer frustration. I told her that I loved her, and that she needed to start talking to me, that she needed to stop blaming those around her for her actions, and that just because she was hurting that it didn’t make it right to hurt those around her. I asked her why she was so angry at me. She had no answer. I asked her if I had yelled at her, up until this point, at all about what she had done. She said no. She started to calm and admitted that she was just mad about it all.

We fell on the topic of the pictures. She covered her ears and screamed over and over that she didn’t want to talk about it. I continued talking to her in a calm voice, I told her that if she was old enough to “do those things” then she was old enough to sit and talk about them and the consequences. Finally, after what seemed like forever, she dropped her hands and looked up at with me and said, “I can’t tell you because I can’t trust you.” I was shocked. I asked her why. She paused. She said she didn’t have a reason, that it was only because she knew I wouldn’t approve and she would get in trouble. I explained that this was different than “trust” and that she knew that. She admitted that she did know that. She said she had done horrible things (it turns out they weren’t so horrible after all, but when your kids say they have done “horrible” things your heart falls all the way to your feet.)

I told her that if she talked to me we could find a way to work through her emotions. She said, “I know what I did was wrong, I knew when I was doing it that I was wrong, I know it, I know it! I don’t know why I did it. I like the compliments and now I can’t stand to think about it! I can’t sleep! I can’t think about it, I can’t talk about it, I can’t, I can’t!!!!!” She  was sobbing. I don’t know if we had reached a good point or bad point. My only degree when it comes to psychology is “BeingAMom101” and I am not sure I am ready to graduate. What I did know is that she was admitting that she knew she was wrong, and she was showing remorse over her actions, finally. I don’t want her to feel badly, but I knew she had to accept her mistake for what it was. A HUGE mistake, and that most mistakes can be fixed.  I told her that I understood. I know how it is to dwell on something awful, to have it haunt your dreams, chase you through your nights until you will do anything you can just to not think about it. I told her that we would take her to a different therapist, out of the school system, and that we would work through it, help her gain some self-esteem, help her learn to deal with and move on from mistakes that can’t be corrected. I told her that I would go too, and we would find our way through this together, as a family. She settled, finally. I was exhausted. We hugged, said our “I love you’s” and parted for the night.

I went to bed exhausted. I spent my fourth night in a row crying instead of sleeping. How I can I teach my daughter about acceptance and moving through things if I sit there and worry about her all night? That is hardly leading by example. It is a different thing, yes, I know. I just don’t know how to help my lost girl. I don’t know how to bring her back to us and to make her see how beautiful she is. I tell her all the time, but its not me she wants to hear it from and I can’t give her what the world isn’t offering.

Today I sit here, sick, probably because I haven’t been sleeping. I need to focus on homework.  I have an exam to take. I don’t want to go to work tomorrow, but there is nobody else to work for me. I want to sleep, just sleep and rest my exhausted brain and my aching heart. I want to burn my college books (but I won’t because they are expensive and I am broke) and I want to go back in time and make a Skype call to my uncle to tell him I love him. I know he knows that. I can FEEL that he knows that.  I sent him, not so long ago, a private message on Facebook and told him I loved him, and he said, “I love you too, sweetie.”  I can hear his voice saying that right now, in my head, because he always called me “sweetie.” I can hear my aunt’s laughter, she always helped me through things. I need her right now. I want to talk to her so much.

Like an idiot I didn’t save the message from my uncle and I dearly, desperately want it back… just to have, to maybe put on the back of a picture my aunt and uncle together. Something. I am sentimental like that. I want to ask God why he is pushing me so hard. I feel guilty because of my shaken faith. I feel badly because I feel like I have must have made huge mistakes with my daughter for her to want male attention so badly.

I feel like I am swimming along but sinking little by little and every once in awhile I get a foot hold and am able to pull myself up again long enough to regroup. I really wish I could get to shore, just for awhile.  I am just so tired. I am tired of being awake at night. I am tired of the tears that keep coming, they are falling even now, as I dump my emotions into this blog. Now I must wipe them off, go pick my daughter up from work, and make my way through an exam somehow. Stand up straight, soldier, you have work to do….