Where I have an absolute meltdown.

As if impending doom labor wasn’t enough to push me completely over the edge, there are a million-and-five other things going on in our household that should score me (mandatory) lifetime access to an actual looney bin.

I don’t care about any of those things except for one.

If you’ve ever read the stuff I write, you’ll know that I generally hold nothing back when it comes to venting to the keyboard or chronically over-sharing. And if you’re in my friend, you’ll also know that I have had an embarrassingly teensy amount of contact with my college kid over the course of the summer.

I know precious little about her “new life”–and that’s okay. It’s more than okay. It was pretty much expected. She’s busy, I’m busy. I saw it coming from 1000 miles and 2 years away.

What I have been completely blind-sided by, however, is the fact that not only do some kids move away physically, they move away in every other aspect too–all of the sudden, after 18 years of her being one of the biggest and brightest parts of my entire adult life (plus half my teenage life), I am not only expected to back off, but also to back out.

Like, entirely.

Never mind that I’m her mom and she’s my daughter. Never mind that there’s pictures of her pretty smile all over my house, and that every time I watch a Disney movie or drink a cherry coke, or drive in my car, or breathe or sleep, I think of her. Never mind that Mia and Merrick will tearfully ask every so often why she hasn’t called them.

My oldest daughter is goin’ rogue.

Maybe it’s because I was a less-than stellar teen parent. Maybe it’s because I was a terrible excuse for a wife at 18 to her dad. Maybe it’s cause we got divorced before I could legally drink. Maybe it’s because once I could legally drink, I did so. A lot. Maybe it’s because I moved out of my parents house and got re-married and dragged her to Oklahoma of all places. Maybe it’s because I was a stark-raving alcoholic for a number of developmentally crucial years. Maybe I shouldn’t have been so strict. Maybe I shouldn’t have expected so much. Maybe I shouldn’t have gotten my life back on track with Jesus, or made any rules, or taken her to church, or have acted so very proud of her when she was awesome–which was all the time.

I think the straw that broke the camel’s back came recently when I tried (unsuccessfully, I might add) to contact her more than three times in one week. (Because of contractions and labor and hormones and emotions, and all the “what if’s” running rampant through my brain.)

To be fair, the girl is busy. And her phone has been broken so calling has been a no-go for a while, and texting is hit-and-miss. But I’ve been utterly blocked from messaging her through any social media, and I haven’t heard her sweet voice since she hugged me good-bye in May. I don’t know how to get a hold of my own daughter.

And it. Sucks.

Honestly, it doesn’t just suck. It’s gut-wrenchingly painful. Maybe this is just me being overly pregnant, but I haven’t felt this awful since I my last miscarriage. I can’t stop crying. I can’t stop thinking and over analyzing (and also: whining. To nobody, really, except for my mom who has been through the whole teenage thing 3 times but it might as well be a hundred.)

I knew it would be hard–in a challenging-type way–when my daughter left home. This is probably not how she sees it at all (hopefully), but it feels like she is trying to cut out everything and everyone that helped form her into the bomb person that she is, starting with me because, well, I’m annoying.

And I might be. And I might deserve to “get the boot”, at least temporarily. But what happens if there’s an emergency? What happens if, say, I dunno, I give birth to a baby and would like to tell her that she has a new sibling rather than have her find out through some lame Facebook post? What if Mia and Merrick are crying because they just want to talk to their cool older sister? What happens if something happens?

An even scarier thought: what happens if I do everything right with the little kids and even they grow up to hate me? What happens then? Why do parents even become parents in the first place knowing the emotional risks? Why do people bother at all forming relationships and loving each other and building families period?

King Solomon had a similar meltdown when he lamented, “there is nothing new under the sun.” In other words: “Life is some incredible bull. Why bother with anything? Riches will be gone tomorrow. Close family can turn on you in a heartbeat. You’ll die and your body will rot away into the ground and no one will care five minutes later.”

Oh Solomon. That’s all technically true.

But as I said in yesterday’s post–and I stand by it today–God gives us each other. Family is a gift–custom-made! There is no more wonderful, beautiful, intelligent (and of course, strong-willed) college-aged young lady that is better suited to have been my actual daughter for the past 18 years. I wouldn’t trade Miss Independent for a whole slew of teenage girls who would never want to leave my side. I’m glad she chose to move half-way across the country. I’m glad she’s got goals and dreams and that she’s pursuing them with all her energy. I’m glad she is experiencing new places and things and meeting new people, and I’m even glad she’s not into calling me every five minutes.

Of course, I wouldn’t mind a phone call more than once every five months, but I will take what I can get, if and when she decides to give it.

I miss her. I love her. And I can’t wait to hear from her again.


About Toni

Mom. Wife. Artist. I take care of the kids and pretend to clean sometimes. I can cook spagetti and I have never been arrested. View all posts by Toni

One response to “Where I have an absolute meltdown.

  • jeralynickel

    Tony, this is Jeralyn’s husband Mike. Your recent blog post is wrenchingly honest and wise. I’ve been a journalist for 50 years and I’d print what you wrote in my newspaper.

    Good luck with your coming baby.


    mike tharp

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