I just spent a week with my two young adult daughters. We traveled across eastern Canada to visit my mom in my hometown on Cape Breton Island. It was a welcome road trip as I rarely spend that much time with both girls at the same time. My oldest lives with my husband and the youngest moved out a few years back to make the commute to school easier.
When I left their dad last year, my relationship with each of them took a hit. It hurt – a LOT. Despite the fact that I have an amicable relationship with their father, I had shattered the trust and ease that I have had with my girls. The past week presented an opportunity to see if we’ve gotten past some of the pain – it was thrilling to hang out with them. But it turns out that there are still so many emotions and issues that have not been addressed. Probably because we have not directly discussed the topic other than during some very superficial conversations.
At 21 and 24, both of these amazing women are still struggling to figure themselves out. They have lives of their own with a unique set of relationships and their own paths to follow. The split up of their family rocked their very foundations and they have not yet made peace with the new reality. Or with me. On the surface, everything is civil but I learned this week that it is difficult for them to reconcile this new version of their mother with the one that they grew up and loved completely. In many ways, they feel that they have no idea who I am anymore. In some ways, I no longer know myself but I do know that I have to find out where I belong in this world.
I wish that I could “make it all better” like when they were little girls and a simple kiss would erase the booboo – that level of complete trust takes nurturing and time. For now, the easy-going laughter and comradery is missing and I find myself, like them, in the middle of a grieving process. They don’t come to me for advice very often when something is bothering them in their own lives – I’ve been shut out to an extent. But, we are still talking and that means everything to me.
Ironically, one of my reasons to leave my marriage was to show my daughters that it is possible to make excruciatingly difficult choices. I wanted to show them that it is possible to change one’s life with grace and the upmost respect for the people involved. History will show if that worked out well. For now, I am incredibly grateful that my grown daughters will still go on road trips with me and are willing participants in figuring out our new “normal”. These women mean the world to me and they need time to work out their feelings. I can give them time and patience and a lot of love. And a chance for us to figure out what it means to be a family that live in different places.
A 50 something woman who is turning the page. Newly separated and now taking the time to identify and follow her dreams – one day at a time.