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.**
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.
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.