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i love you forever, i like you for always.......
After five years of marriage I found myself wondering if I would actually ever have a child. Having been off birth control for a couple of years with a “let’s see what happens” attitude, it dawned on me that “it” might not happen. Following an endometrial biopsy that showed no ovulation, I was told I would have to take a fertility drug. Within a month, I was pregnant as a goose. Nine months later, a happy healthy girl named Lauren came into our lives and nothing was ever the same.

My first experience with “letting go” of her was when I returned to work six weeks later. I left her in the hands of a capable home daycare provider and returned to the job that was necessary to pay half of the bills. Her dad worked night shift, so we passed her back and forth and shared in her care during the early years, never finding much time as a family.

The day that I turned her little four year old life over to a kindergarten teacher, I wept all the way to work. She did fine and flourished due to her extensive pre-school experiences. The years that followed were filled with flurries of activities like Girl Scouts and church and sports. One or both of us was with her every step she took.

Her dad and I divorced when she was in the fifth grade….at about the worst possible time for a child’s self-esteem. Though we got back together a year or so later, the trust was gone and we all knew nothing would ever be the same again. We held it together….barely, until she got out of high school and then we all knew it was over.

I have thrown up my boundaries and claimed separation from her many times since that first parting at the age of six weeks. After all, I had a life too and she would eventually leave the nest. Then where would I be? During her fifth and sixth grade years, we were best buds and all her friends loved me because I was a “cool” mom. By the time middle school rolled around, she hated the sight of me.

And so it went, with me caring way too much and her not enough until she approached the age of 16 where she needed to buddy up again to be able to drive. The day I sat on the front steps and watched her drive away, alone, I experienced what I thought was the worst pain possible for a mother. Before she left, I pinned a tiny guardian angel onto the dash of the car, just to remind her of Mom’s abiding love.

High school was, all in all, an okay experience for us. She wasn’t that great a student, but then neither was I so I understood. She shunned the frufru social activities and chose, instead, to spend time with her friends. Our house was the place they all hung out because the atmosphere was informal and inviting and so many of her friends had a poor relationship with their own parents. While I was not permissive by any means, my philosophy was that “kids will be kids” and I’d rather have them at MY house than out roaming the streets. I often looked the other way to allow them to experiment within a safe haven. Every teenage drama of suicidal notions or abortion or legal trouble was brought to my doorstep to listen to through tears and sobs and give non-judgmental advice or just a hug. I did not want to know some of the stuff that I knew…it would have been easier not to.

I breathed a huge sigh of relief that high school was over and helped her focus on which direction to go at the local community college. We were dealing with the financial fallout from the second divorce, and there was just enough money for her to attend there and live at home. After two and a half years there, she is still without a degree and struggling to figure out who she is and what she wants out of life.

Though my daughter only lives a quarter mile away from me, it might as well be 1000 miles at this point in time. We are both struggling to restructure the relationship that we once had into something workable for an adult and her mother. Often times, this struggle finds us right back where we were in the middle school years with me crying because I’m not much a part of her life anymore, and her reacting defensively. She feels like a failure because her friends will be graduating from college next spring, and she is still searching for that magic moment when it all falls into place and she knows what she’s gonna be when she grows up. Whatever it is, I know that she will do it with grace and dignity and a loving heart.

As for me, I just want my friend back…the one who lived through the struggles with me and looked to me for wisdom and comfort and made me giggle. Anybody seen her?

puppy sugar
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