Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Mom and Daughter Reconciled

May 2010

To be honest, I don't really remember exactly when and how we started communicating again, I just know it had been several months. It was a text here and an email there that said something to the effect of, 'Hey, just checking in and I love you.' Sometimes a few words are all it takes to start melting hearts that have hardened and put walls up for emotional protection. And then my phone rang and I saw my daughter's name pop onto the screen for the first time in months. And my heart nearly stopped.

My family and a few friends had gathered at my favorite Mexican restaurant to celebrate my birthday when she called. We chatted and laughed and then she asked to talk to everyone else. My husband, her step-dad got on the phone and the first words out of his mouth were, 'I love you Kenz.' And that was how we started over. It wasn't any one big moment or event, but several small steps where we just caught up with each other on the phone, chatting about life and the mistakes we'd both made, forgiveness, her future and how she wanted to come back home after graduation. And, it wasn't without a few bumps in the road, but it always came back to the fact that we knew no matter what we loved each other.

I attended my daughter's graduation in June and it was the first time in seven months I'd seen her. The moment the ceremony was done it was all I could do to keep from knocking down the people in front of me who were moving so slowly out of the stadium so I could get to my daughter. I can't really describe the feeling of when she saw me, yelled, 'Mom!' and ran up to give me the biggest hug ever because there just aren't words for it. It was totally awesome and lets just say a picture is worth a thousand words.

There were some very dark moments in the months my daughter was gone and I have no doubt that those who were prayer warriors (and there were many) for me and Kenzi in that time helped to speed up the reconciliation process. I'm not sure I can express the magnitude of my gratefulness for those who were willing to listen to my rants, and frustrations and probably some good old fashioned pity party whining. It was through those very awesome friends that I saw the slivers of light that pierced the very dark moments.

My daughter is now living back in Bend, attending church, working and in the Criminal Justice program at our local community college, with the intention of going to the Police Academy. I don't think a day goes by that we don't chat on the phone (several times) or see each other. I am proud of the young woman she has become and every day I thank God for her, the challenges we faced that brought us closer together and the light that pierced the dark.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Trail of Reconciliation

**This is Part One of Three about reconciling with my teenage daughter. To see Part 2, please continue reading.**

November 2009
There was a light covering of snow on the ground as I made my way along the river trail. Two weeks had passed since I'd been there and I noticed that a lot had changed in that short amount of time.

I dressed for the elements, knowing that a storm had blown through the day before and unsure of how much snow I'd be traversing. Luckily there wasn't much snow, but what there was had already been trampled by enough hikers to make the trail somewhat slippery.

I'd forgotten that as treacherous as each uphill is in the snow, it's the downhill that I had to worry about. I began to question why I picked the hilliest part of the trail to hike and not just because of the conditions, but because I'd been sick for well over a week and my lungs were making sure I remembered that.

The last time I hiked the trail there were still some remnants of falls colors, with what leaves remained were clinging to their branches as if unwilling to succumb to their fate of spending winter on the cold hard ground. The squirrels were chattering and scurrying about and the birds were extremely vocal, especially when Boz encroached in their space.

Today, the woods were still except the lone crow who was flushed out of his hiding space and made no secret of his irritation with the rogue Boz-dog on the trail. The squirrels and birds were eerily silent and nowhere to be seen. The trees were completely bare and not a single leaf was spared, with the last ones to fall being scattered along the trail. I came upon a fallen aspen tree that a few weeks ago had been the picture of vibrancy with all of it's leaves in full fall color. Now, the leaves were gone and it was left laying on the ground, never to produce leaves again.

As I walked the trail and took in all the change that happens from spring, to summer, to fall and finally winter, I realized that my life in the past week resembled the trail that was preparing for winter.

You see, it wasn't being sick that took the life out of me and brought on the season of winter, it was watching my daughter walk out the door without looking back. It was seeing her dark brown eyes turn nearly black as she spit out the words, 'you need me...' as she packed up her belongings. She said those words more than once and in several different ways in the time it took her to pack her worldly possessions. You. Need. Me.

There was a moment where it hit me , and I don't know who she was trying to convince. I'm not sure if she was saying that over and over to convince herself that yes, she was needed, or trying to convince me that letting her go was going to be the biggest mistake of my life. All I know is that two people were feeling dead inside as she walked past me and uttered, 'whatever,' as she walked out the door.

I have refused to cry or feel anything but anger and indifference. I don't want to talk about what led up to my daughter leaving her home or why she screamed she hated me. I don't want to let go of the anger because I know when I do that the hurt will come and it is going to be worse than anything I've ever felt. And, I know that once the tears start they won't stop.

For now, the trail understands my pain. It is colorless, cold, empty of life and waiting. Waiting for the next season to bring hope of new life.

Part 2

December 2009
For over five weeks I had avoided going into her room but I knew sooner or later I was going to have to face the daunting task of packing up the things she left behind.

I looked around the room and took in the few items left hanging in the closet, mainly the old clothes she didn't wear anymore. The desk held a few nick knacks, school supplies and stuffed animals. The walls had been left mostly bare except for the remnants of her high school volleyball days and a random tack here and there.

I climbed up on the bunk bed and began taking down the volleyball shirts one-by-one. Player number on the front, name across the back.

To continue reading Part Two, please visit my good friend Kathy Richards over at her blog. These posts are entries in Bridget Chumbley's Reconciliation blog carnival.