I wanted you. I wanted you from the very moment I knew you were to be. I planned every detail for your arrival. Ate the right foods so you could grow. Took the horse pills so every part would form properly. Spent hours leaned over because my stomach never could quite hold down food. I sacrificed my life, my body and eventually my mental health…because I wanted you.
I accidentally told the entire church about your arrival. I will never forget Barbara’s laugh as she said, “Well that’s one way to tell us you’re pregnant again.” At this point it was just us; Your dad, the boy and me. We had decided that adding another to our little family would complete us and now you were on the way. We were so excited!
One day while shopping I found Ellie. Ellie was a pink elephant who played “Imagine” by John Lennon when you pulled the tail. Ellie and I became fast friends. I would sit in the rocking chair while Ellie sang you a lullaby.
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people sharing all the world
You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one
I prayed and worried and dreamed. I wanted you to live in a world where you were loved and wanted. Where you never feared the night or the hug of your daddy. Where you received all the love in the world and you could be whoever you wanted to be. I wanted more than anything to have a daughter who would eventually be a friend. Like my own momma.
Your arrival was the best thing I have ever experienced. For a blissed 24 hours I felt on top of the world. Your birth was not like your brother’s. It was powerful and beautiful. And I was so overwhelmed by how tiny you were. Then we discovered that your body didn’t much like food. So you spit up and then screamed and then vomited and screamed some more. And this would be our routine for 9 months. 9 months I slept very little and I fought doctors and I ate spinach so you could keep breastfeeding. And I loved you despite the darkness that enveloped my mind, heart and soul. I wanted you to feel loved. Oh how I tried to make sure you felt that.
I suppose I can see why you rejected me when your sister was born and clung to your daddy. He was so in love with you. Your sister wanted nothing to do with him. And so a pattern began: daddy took care of you and I took care of sissy. But at night it was still momma you wanted to tuck you in and fall asleep next to. And I cherished those moments. Eventually you forgave me for your sister’s arrival.
I look back and I can see how my protection and love became control and indifference. How you silently observed your parent’s fights at night and made plans for your life. How my mental issues affected your ability to feel safe and secure. And how you clung to your brother for dear life. How you chose manipulation to get what you wanted, hoping that would help you ease the insecurity of the chaos around you. How easier it was to just give you what you wanted than to deal with your disappointment. You see, I loved you too. And the one thing I hated the most was when you were mad at me. And you were REALLY good at being mad. And I look back and see just how wrong I was.
It’s been a long 14 months since you first said the words that crushed my soul and broke my heart. It’s been a journey that I’ve tried to bear in silence. I’ve wept so hard on the floor I couldn’t breathe. I’ve considered horrible things. I’ve thought of finding whatever drug I could to ease the pain. They say the teen years are hard — they didn’t say they can be soul-crushing when your child rejects you from their life completely.
But not completely. You see, as your sister says, “I’m just an ATM machine.” You need me to pay for your life. And so I pay. I pay with my time and my energy and my body. Just like when you were that moody toddler. I take care of you, you reject me. I love you, you hate me. I show up to your games, you act like I don’t exist. I ask you how your day is, you walk away. I cry from the pain, and you despise, even mock me. This is the hard years of parenting and I must confess, I hate them with every inch of my body.
Instead of wanting you, I want to run far, far away. Far away from your disrespect and manipulation and chaos and anger. Far away from the cat fights between you and your sister. I no longer want the responsibility. I just want to be done. And I feel about as awful as I can for that. And so I wake up at 2 in the morning because I can’t sleep. Because I know that I need to put boundaries in place. And I know that’s just going to push the wedge between us even further. And I’m not sure I can bear that final blow to my heart.
I know in your mind that I’ve rejected you. That I don’t accept who you are and what you choose. That I don’t support your dreams. That I don’t love you. But you and I both know that’s not true.
I just can’t do this anymore. I can’t live with the fear and chaos and anger. I can’t deal with knowing that any moment my child will walk out of my life and I’ll never see her again. I can’t forget the words, “I wish she were dead.”
You have forced me to be a person I don’t want to be. You have shattered my dreams of what a family should be like. You have broken my heart.
I can imagine that one day you will return. That this teenage version of yourself will leave and I’ll get my daughter back. But it’s just a dream and for now I live in reality. Time may bring you and I back together. Or it may not. But I can’t hold on to you any longer. I have to let you go. Despite my broken heart and my shattered dreams. You are free to go.