I have had one fear for eighteen years now, and last summer it came true.
My oldest daughter moved out. It’s not the fact that she moved out that was my fear. No. I knew that was coming one day obviously.
No, my biggest fear had been that my daughter would move out and it would be to live with her father. That after all of these years together, she would “pick him”. She would decide that my home was no longer her safe space and she would leave me for him.
I know this sounds very dramatic, but it’s my truth.
Please note, I have no bad feelings towards her father. To be honest, we have done a pretty dang good job of co-parenting her together for all these years. It has nothing to do with him, honestly. I know this may come off pretty selfish of me since she has lived with me for the majority of her life. I know that he too deserves this special time with her before she leaves for the next chapter of her life. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt. That doesn’t mean it didn’t break me in the center of my core.
It was a hard summer. It honestly shook me. When it happened it was something I wanted to share with my friends, family and tribe. I wanted to yell from the rooftop “Ugh, life is so flipping hard”, but I wasn’t ready to share. I wasn’t able to admit to what was REALLY going on in my life. I felt like I was lying to everyone because I wasn’t in fact being unapologetically me, but how could I be when I didn’t really understand what was going on? I didn’t understand the why.
I needed time to process. I needed time to heal. Honestly, I needed to find the lesson in it all. There had to be a lesson right? Everything happens for a reason, so WHAT was this lesson?
I have to give my daughter a lot of credit because having that conversation with me was probably not an easy one. She is a people pleaser, just like her mama, so I know it took guts to say the words, “I’m moving in with dad for the summer”.
I actually didn’t cry in that moment. I was heading out with my youngest for her check up at the doctors. I told my daughter I respected whatever she felt was best for her and asked if we could talk more about it all when I got home that afternoon.
I of course bawled in the car. I mean full out ugly cry.
I put my sunglasses on and actually didn’t take them off to go into the doctor office. The tears were streaming down my face and the receptionist for sure saw them. She didn’t say a word, just passed me a box of tissues.
Judgement free. I needed that.
The nurse came into the room and saw my eyes. I looked at her and said “The baby is fine, I am just having a bad day.” She responded “Look, no one is perfect. You do what you need to do over there. I am NOT judging you.”
Judgement free. I needed that.
The doctor walked in. Now at this point I have to tell you, when I cry you can tell. My face gets blotchy and my eyes are so swollen. There is NO hiding it. He looked at me and said……
“And how are YOU?”
I lost it. I lost my mind. When I say I ugly cried, I mean, hand me a paper bag because I need some help breathing. He was so kind and let me just cry and spew out all of the things I was thinking and feeling.
Judgement free. I needed that.
You guys, I am not trying to be dramatic, I’m really not. But if you know my story thus far, you know that my oldest and I have something special. She’s my girl. She’s my ride or die. We grew up together. I was her safe space, her home for seventeen crazy, but beautiful years. She was mine.
To be honest, one of the reasons why I haven’t said anything up until this point was because I felt that I was going to be judged. I was already judging myself, so why wouldn’t the people around me or those following my story not judge me? I can hear it now, “Wow, look at her? How bad is it in her home that her own daughter, her own blood, doesn’t want to live with her?” Or something like, “Can you blame her daughter? I mean that house seems like constant chaos!”
I was ashamed. I was hurt. I felt broken.
The noise in my head was strong. I wasn’t good enough. I was a horrible mother. My other daughters would want to leave me one day too. The things I said to myself were so nasty, but I believed them with all of my heart.
If I could give you a visual picture of how I was feeling inside, it would be something like this. Picture what your core, your soul looks like on the inside of you. For me, it’s like a thumbprint. A representation of a path. A purpose. Everyones is different. Now picture a tiny crack. That crack starts at the top and spreads right through the center, all the way down. That perfect print is no longer perfect, it’s changed, for life.
That’s how I felt. This move, this decision, it changed me. It changed our relationship. It changed the family dynamic. It changed everything. Not necessarily in a bad way, but it was change and it was hard.
We listened to her. We sat in really uncomfortable and hard conversations.We needed to though. There were issues in our foundation and we needed to fix them.
When I had time to process everything, I was able to see the situation much clearer. That’s when I realized that life was not in fact happening to me, but it was happening for me. It was happening for us. There was a reason that this was all happening and it might not have been clear at that moment in time, but it would become clear to us.
So what was the lesson?
Her entire life, one of my biggest fears had been that she’d pick her father over me. That I had to prove myself to her. I had to win her over. My biggest fear came true, and I survived. I survived something really hard. Yes, our relationship changed the day she told me she was moving out. The thing is, I finally realized that my girl is not in fact just MY girl, she is the world’s. This summer could have broken me, but instead it made me stronger than I knew was even possible. Sometimes you have to break a little on the inside in order to rise above and become a stronger version of yourself.
Continue your journey to be the best version of YOU, unapologetically.