I will start by saying I am fortunate to have any kind of relationship with my daughter, however flawed it may be.
I received a letter from her when she was 14 years old, telling me she wanted to come live with me. At that age, she was discovering all the memories she had blocked out. Like me, all that had happened to her was too much, so her mind very kindly locked it away until she was ready to deal with it. She told me she started having nightmares/dreams about a house, about me, about police etc. Finally, the school she was attending forced her father to send her to therapy. In therapy she learned her dreams were memories of when she lived with her mother. She was told that she was old enough to choose which parent she wanted to live with and that she wanted to live with me. Rebelling against her father, his rules and his issues was only part of the reason she wanted to be with me. She said she remembered I loved her.
My feelings of guilt were so overwhelming I thought I would never stop crying. But I was also full of joy that I would have my baby girl back. It took 2 more years before she arrived to live with me again. I took one look at her sweet face and cried. Weepy mothers! Seriously!
She was not so overwhelmed with joy though. Dry eyed and unmoved by my tears, she stiffly hugged me back as though I were a stranger. Which, of course, I was.
I remained naive enough to believe that my love for her would fix everything. She stayed 2 years then went back to Montreal. The only thing she got out of it was a break from her father, a little relief to know she wasn’t going crazy and a connection with more family.
Today, she is a single mother of 3. A beautiful, loving devoted mother, one I would have sold my soul to have. She bravely faces life full on with determination and bravery. I wish I could say she was 100% emotionally well.
She eats her emotions, she eats when bored…food is her addiction, her crutch when things get difficult. She has major control issues, is unorganized and suffers from very low moods when overwhelmed and discouraged. She is closer to her father and his family than she is to me and my family. Family means everything to her. She is smart, kind, caring and extremely loving. Her love for her children sustain her through every trial and tribulation life throws at her.
I admire my daughter. She is a fabulous mother in spite of her own parents.
And she has provided me with 3 gorgeous grandchildren, including a granddaughter that is as close to me as I often dreamed about being with my own daughter. My granddaughter is connected to me in a way I cannot explain. We have such an emotional and intellectual connection it is often spooky to others. My granddaughter is the greatest gift I have ever received.
When I left off last chapter I said my mother came to live with us. I was 28 and pregnant, we had just bought a new home in the country with a view of a lake in a tiny little mountain town.
My mother stayed with us while I was pregnant and left 5 days before I gave birth to my beautiful son. She tried her best during that time to poison my mind with her sharp tongue and innuendos. She used innuendos whenever my husband was present. She was not subtle when he was not. She did her best work during that time but she lost that battle. I had my husband always at my side to remind me that I was worthwhile, lovable and NOT a loser. He did not have to make any special effort because he truly felt that way about me.
When she left I was surprised at the amount of tension that left my physical body. The effort it took to resist her was very consuming, to the point that I ate very little during that pregnancy and began losing weight during the last 3 months. Concerned, the doctor told my husband to continue to encourage me to eat whatever I wanted. I consumed ice cream during my pregnancy. Morning to night, my entire diet consisted of ice cream. Nothing else. Sundaes, banana splits, etc. Hubby would get up in the middle of the night and wake his friend, the owner of Dairy Queen, to get me a banana split.
Still, I lost weight and continued to so long past giving birth. But it didn’t matter to me. This was my chance to be the mother I knew I could be.
I poured every ounce of myself into my baby boy. My ADD/ADHD ability to hyper focus will get full credit for my success with raising my son. He was endlessly fascinating to me. Everything he did, from the moment of his birth to today, never ceases to amaze me. Although I was not a “conventional” mother, I was able to instil in him a sense of self-worth that eventually saved his life.
I read every book on babies, child care etc. that I could find. I held him when he was awake and when he was sleeping. I marvelled at all he was. I gazed upon his lovely face while he slept in my arms for hours on end. My face lit up the room whenever he entered it. He was so smart. So creative. So different. As it turns out, he was more like me than we knew.
We finally found out last year that we share the ADD/ADHD.
Closely connected. My son is a joy to me. And he is a loving son who grew up to be a kind, caring loving man now taking ADD medication, working lucratively with a beautiful thoughtful woman who loves him deeply.
Both of my parents are dead now. They have been gone from this earth for almost 5 years. I cried deeply, surprising myself when I did. I now know that I cried for the end of any hope that I still held in my heart of somehow forging some kind of parent/child relationship that made sense. Once they passed away, that hope was no longer available.
ADD/ADHD gives me the ability to be an optimist you see. Memories fade and disappear, the horror of my feelings throughout my life are hazy and do not influence my actions of today. I know in my heart that I will survive whatever life throws my way. I am positive that I will get through whatever I need to get through. And I will come out on top. Always surviving and maybe even thriving.
Nothing can me keep down. Not even the negative qualities of ADD/ADHD:) The positive will always outweigh the negative.
Always and forever.