“I can’t just run away from my problems, Mom”, spoken in the closest imitation of an “adult voice” 19 year old Mini-Me can muster.
While I agree with the sentiment, I can’t seem to get her to understand the difference between “running away” and moving on.
Running away is being in the middle of problems you can’t or don’t want to deal with and removing yourself instead of dealing with your problems. Moving on is walking away when you’ve done all you can to resolve those problems and you refuse to stick around letting the people in your life run over or mistreat you.
In truth, she’s not doing either. What’s really happening is that the situation has reached the point where it should end, but she’s unwilling to let go. She would rather suffer than write the end of the chapter.
It’s hard being the parent of a young adult that is so head-strong and so confused at the same time.
Draco shakes his head in frustration, as uncertain as I am as to what we should, or even can, do. I remind him that Mini-Me, right now, is only one year younger than I was when we met. He looks at me in disbelief, and I can understand how he feels.
As much as Mini-Me has been through that is so similar to my own experiences, when I was 19, I was the mother of a toddler, I had been in an abusive marriage for a year with the man I thought I would spend the rest of my life with. At 20, I was legally separated, in the process of a divorce, had had my child taken from me by my abuser and was in the middle of a nervous breakdown. I suppose I seemed so much older to us both because those experiences matured me. Life has a way of doing that.
I know that 75% of her situation is a matter of the heart. She loves him, right or wrong, and is still trying to hold on to the illusion that one day, he’ll change and be the man she needs him to be. I went through that with her father, I guess her existance is where the path split for me.
Would my choices have been the same had it not been for her? Would I have held on longer had I not had a child to think about? Would he have ever changed had I stayed?
I like to think that I would have made the same choices out of respect for myself, but is that what 19 year old me would have done if Mini-Me hadn’t been a factor or is that nearly 38 year old me speaking with the hindsight I now have to see how my ex-husband’s life has continued a downward spiral to where he is now?
I won’t lie, nearly 18 years removed from the situation, and I still ask myself in the lonely hours of the night if I could have saved him from himself. That’s what love gives you sometimes, unanswerable questions.
I still don’t know what choices Mini-Me will make, or if she’ll live with a lifetime of regrets and questions she will never have answers to like I have, but I do know that she’s not the only one learning as we continue to try to move from a parent/child relationship to one of mother/daughter.
As we progress down our own path, I’m constantly reminded that while I continue to try to teach and guide her into full adulthood, that I continue to learn from our experiences as well.
She is teaching me, just as I am teaching her. She reminds me to be open, to question, to look at my own life and choices with new eyes. To ask myself what I might have done differently and wonder if those options would have been right or wrong. She reminds me what it’s like to see life, and love, through the eyes of a soul not worn down by time and bad decisions. She reminds me of what it felt like to love blindly, without hesitation or reservation.
Watching her love is like riding a bicycle downhill with no hands and sometimes, I think we could all use a reminder of what that feels like.