We were out for dinner with friends. It was my husband’s birthday. We’d had a great time all night. Then, hit the moment where my friend and I began a real conversation about a topic that I find hard to deal with. Our daughter.
“She didn’t even text her father a Happy Birthday,” I said to my friend. “I can’t believe that in spite of an email to her a week ago now, reminding her of her father’s birthday, she didn’t bother to even text him. What would it have taken her to have sent him a text message?”
My friend looked likely as mortified as I was but, pensive. She couldn’t believe that there hadn’t been a word from our daughter. After all, my friend had watched us raise her as we had watched her, raising her son and the love and care he’d gotten. She knew that we’d gone above and beyond as parents, as she had with her own son. Both of our children, now adults and no longer living at home, had grown up together. How could this be? How does this happen?
I could see this type of distance from us had we been abusive or neglectful to her, hurt her, been addicts, fought her, didn’t support her financially, mentally, emotionally or whatever else one can or wants to conjure up in one’s mind for estranging oneself from their parents. We had been none of those things to her. Three therapists, many sessions of openness and honesty hadn’t netted any reason for this behaviour from her. Friends, neighbours, family and people who had simply known our daughter and her upbringing had all reassured us that it wasn’t at all to do with us or our parenting. She’d dropped all of her former friends, her entire family on both sides and, distanced herself from just about everyone except for her boyfriend (a drug riddled, un-driven, un-ambitious jerk with some sort of a personality disorder) an apartment that she’s lived in for 8 1/2 years, is falling apart but, she can’t leave because their credit rating is so poor that they wouldn’t pass the credit rating to get a lease anywhere else. No, it wasn’t us. It wasn’t her childhood as it was filled with friends, support, love, material things she wanted, a university education, family, pets, a car we’d bought for her and most of all, parents who loved her without exceptions. Neither of us were addicts, abusive, controlling or anything that might have been to blame. All that there was to lay fault with, was her choice in this idiot she has been with who hates his own parents and has some type of a cult-like-hold on her mind.
I was filled with sadness as I thought back about all of the wonderful trips we’d taken her on. Not because we wanted to go but because she wanted to go. We’d sacrificed a lot within our own lives and for ourselves in order to ensure that she had what she wanted in Life. I’d given up a career to be able to work odd hours so her father could be home with her while I worked. Her father had given up sleep in order to take her places she had wanted to go and pick her up again at crazy hours at her insistence so that she’d be safe. The list is endless but, suffice it to say that this Radio Silence she’s gone into has me terribly upset, hurt and now, plain and ordinary, angry.
“What did I do with all of these years of my life,” I wondered. “I’ve wasted them and I have nothing to show for every bit of those years. It’s like they were a dream and I never had a child or raised one. Yet, I have photos that prove that I did have a child and raised her with everything in me. What did I do? What if I had never had a child? I may have been better off.”
I couldn’t believe that the last part of that came to mind but, it did. I did and do resent now, having had a child. That may sound horrid, coming from a mother but, it’s how I feel right now. Were something to happen to either of us or when we need help (and, we will eventually), it won’t be the child that we gave as much as we could afford to give to her or went into debt to give her. It won’t be the young woman that I gave birth to and raised who will be here to help us when we come to need something. We will have to rely upon paid strangers to help us. Worse, as time has gone by, I’m feeling as though she is a stranger to us and I don’t like who she is at all. She’s not at all the daughter I loved and raised. This person she’s become, is nothing like the wonderful young woman we knew. Who this person is, we don’t know and frankly, I don’t want to know her now. This woman is mean, cold, hurtful, spiteful and without a care in the world about us as her parents or her family and old friends. This person is not our daughter.
Time goes by quickly. None of us ever know what is going to happen from one moment to the next, let alone a week or a month or 10 years from this moment. Life is fragile. It’s temporary. It needs to never be taken for granted and always handled with love and care. There is no assuming that there will be another day to do something for any of us on this planet. Yet, our daughter expects that we’re always going to be here and will ask for what she wants when she wants it. Why? Why should think that she can get anything from us when she has nothing to do with us? Most of all, why think that anything we have left behind when we leave this world, will be hers (and his) if she continues on this way?
Answer: she has a shock coming her way if she doesn’t wake up like, right now.
More than anything, a child will have regrets when their parents leave this planet if they don’t have a good relationship with parents who don’t abuse or neglect them. If they are doing what they are doing because of some jerk that they’ve met and moved in with, there will come a point where they will realize that there’s no going back in time. There’s no way to turn back the hands of time and have a do-over. Whatever didn’t get done, whatever time didn’t get spent, whatever one didn’t do or did do and now regrets, can’t be undone. It’s too late.
For me, it’s becoming too late already. I have already asked myself what it would have been like had I not had a child since I don’t have her now. I have already begun to both think of her and see her as a stranger, not my daughter. As far as I’m concerned, I have DNA (other than my own body) on this planet but, it’s of no consequence to me since I don’t have it as part of my life. It’s already becoming “too late”. My Will was made out years ago when our lives were good and they didn’t involve this jerk or her choices to be with him. I’m heading back to the lawyer’s to change things soon. There are no more chances. She’s blown them with me. I will change my Will again if she ever comes around to herself again and tries again. If not, this will be one of her regrets though we are not wealthy by any means of the word.
If you are an estranged adult child, reading this, I’d give you this piece of advice.
Once your parents are gone from this planet, unless they’ve badly mistreated you and not tried to reconcile that fact or attempted to apologize, you have some things to think about. Here is a good article to think through if you’re anything other than the above.
If you’re a parent who has children who are treating you badly and you’ve tried to work it out with them, don’t give up hope totally but, do move forward. I’ll get into more of how in another piece but, for now, it’s ok to feel the hurt and even the anger. You’re justified in feeling that much. Allow yourself to feel it but, also allow yourself to imagine that perhaps, it’s more about that child than it is about you as a parent. Also give yourself permission to let that child know that while they are loved, their actions or lack of them aren’t forgotten until or unless they make up for lost time with you. Once you are gone, you are gone and they are going to have to deal with the regrets and the consequences of that emotion. If they have no regrets, you’ve not lost anything except your expectations and hopes for and from them. Seek out help from others as well as the company of others. We all need one another.
From my little corner of life to yours, COMMENT, please. Let’s talk as parent to parent who have been hurt and may even be questioning why they had children in the first place. It’s ok. Talk!
Be well, Love and Light
Have a great day or evening.