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Unbalanced by extension - The Fucking Bluebird of Goddamn Happiness [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Zoethe

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Unbalanced by extension [Aug. 25th, 2010|11:19 am]
Zoethe
[Current Mood |melancholymelancholy]

My daughters' lives are in upheaval, and I'm finding myself quite unbalanced by this. They are not bad things - in fact they are Very Good Things. But they are changes, and change is kind of scary.

Erin is now engaged to her long-time boyfriend, Justin. They are aiming for a wedding next summer, but she is driving here tomorrow to participate in something of an East Coast rite of passage: Filene's Basement's Running of the Brides. 1400 high-quality wedding dresses at prices of $249, $499 and $699. Dresses that originally cost $900-$9000+. Yes, they have one of these right here in Cleveland. Friday morning we will get in line at some unholy hour and join in the melee.

Erin was pretty traumatized because it looked for a while like everyone who had committed to joining her in this adventure had dropped out and it was only going to be her and me. And I felt bad for her because she was feeling so hurt. There were good reasons why people couldn't come, but she still felt abandoned. We're back up to a team of 4 now, so we're good to go, but last night when she was texting me that she was crying on the subway, my heart just broke for her. It's hard to know your kids are hurting and have them too far away for cuddles. The transition from single to married is significant, and the rituals that go with it are important, and I hate being far away.

Meanwhile, Amy is on the road to college - quite literally. Today is the day her dad and stepmom drive her down to Maryland, and tomorrow she checks into her dorm.

I'm completely flipped out by this.

It's a combination of things. When Erin went to college, she had already attended boarding school and she ended up changing schools in her senior year, so she wasn't very attached to the kids with whom she graduated - all her good friends were from the boarding school and so were already scattered. Amy, on the other hand, has been going to school with the same kids since grade school. And many of her friends are not leaving home to go to college - they are attending a local community college or state college, so they will mostly be in the same area. To make matters worse? Her dad is moving away within the next few months, so she will not have her home there to go home to for breaks and summer.

She's being torn up by the roots. Her sister will still be in the area for a while, but her tiny apartment is not really the same, and Erin and Justin don't know where they are going once Erin finishes college in December.

Amy had to not only pack for college, she had to go through everything from her childhood and decide what to keep and what to discard. That's a huge amount of change to put on a kid. And because she decided, once I'd finished law school, that she wanted to keep living with her dad and go to high school there, I've been too far away to be anything but an abstract cheerleader.

I know she's finding the drive away from her entire growing up to be hard and painful. More than anyone else she knows, she really can't go home again, because home won't be there. Yes, an exciting new world awaits her, but right now she's caught up in the leaving, and the arriving is just an abstraction.

And I just feel useless to her. We will go out for Parent's Weekend in October because that's what we can do. But I hate feeling this helpless.
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[User Picture]From: gythiawulfie
2010-08-25 03:27 pm (UTC)

Some things don't get any easier even if they are living with you...

My daughter, broke up with her boyfriend. She lives down the hall from me, and still, there wasn't more than it will get better comments to help. A hug, sure, but it doesn't make it any easier on you, or them.

They hit that age (19 +) where, they have to do the 'grownup' thing and all you can do is watch, and support whether in person or long distance.

Yeah, you kind of feel helpless no matter what, because you can't fix it.

Hang in there.

Many many huggles.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-08-25 03:37 pm (UTC)

Re: Some things don't get any easier even if they are living with you...

Thanks. It's true that I couldn't really DO much more. But I could at least give hugs!!
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[User Picture]From: fallconsmate
2010-08-25 03:31 pm (UTC)
yeah. 2 years ago now, when my ex and i separated, my daughter got REALLY angry with me (hurt disguised as anger) that i was moving back to texas from florida. she was 24 at the time and had never lived far away from us. then her dad left florida for kentucky and now ohio. we're just *now* mending those hurts, and being able to talk about it.

in some ways i dont understand it because i left home and moved across country at 18. and have never lived close to my parents again until now. she has been a lot more hurt, and its that much worse now since she broke things off with her boyfriend of 4 years.

i'm glad you'll be there for the bridal gown extravaganza. :)
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-08-25 03:39 pm (UTC)
It's much harder to be the one left behind than to be the one going somewhere. I'm sorry you're all going through that.
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[User Picture]From: koibito007
2010-08-25 04:10 pm (UTC)
I've had several friends as parents watch their kids go through this the past few years.

I tell them, if you're only now feeling helpless as a parent then I think you should be pretty proud.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-08-25 04:22 pm (UTC)
You do have a point.
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[User Picture]From: clodia_risa
2010-08-25 04:13 pm (UTC)
Congratulations to Erin, and poor Amy. My father was laid off at the end of my senior year of high school, and we had to move that summer. Even though it was the same town, it was so hard for me to be making the transition to a new college where I didn't know anyone and also know that I'd never go to my childhood home again. And I remember having to go through things - it was awful. My heart goes out to Amy.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-08-25 04:22 pm (UTC)
It's been pretty tough for her. Thanks.
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[User Picture]From: kibbles
2010-08-25 04:36 pm (UTC)
Eh, better this than this:
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/23/education/23college.html?_r=1

She'll be ok, they'll both be ok, look at the oodles of support and love your kids have!
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-08-25 08:52 pm (UTC)
Oh, yeah, that is definitely ALL wrong. It's crazy for parents to do that to their kids.
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[User Picture]From: perseph12
2010-08-25 05:27 pm (UTC)
*Hugs*

I'm sorry there is so much change and stress going on in your lives. My parents struggle with feelings of helplessness, too...and I figured that they would write me off long before I reached 28 ;)! Although I eventually pull through on my own, their phone calls and e-mails remind me that I have their support. It's probably a comfort to your daughters to know that you want to do more for them
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-08-25 08:53 pm (UTC)
I suppose. I try not to lay any guilt on them, just be there for them.
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[User Picture]From: trianakvetch
2010-08-25 05:38 pm (UTC)
First off *hugs*

If it's of any comfort, I came to college in the US after having lived in Spain for 18 years. My immediately family was all in Spain so visits home weren't an option.

Thankfully for the first year I had some second cousins that took me in for Christmas and Thanksgiving but I didn't get the whole "weekend or spring break away". But then my sophomore year I created my own family made up of friends and my now husband.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-08-25 08:54 pm (UTC)
That's what we did when we moved to Alaska, though we were a bit older. She's already made friends with someone via the magic of Facebook. I know she'll be okay, but...she's my baby. Y'know?
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[User Picture]From: dragonsflame71
2010-08-25 05:52 pm (UTC)
Good luck with the running of the brides! I'll send you some mental energy ;)

My daughter lives with her dad for school reasons, and even though we're in the same town, its across town and I feel like I'm missing out on so much of her life... she's a senior now... and already worrying about college, who she'll live with, where we will all be.... I'm just trying to enjoy the moments I do get.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-08-25 08:55 pm (UTC)
It's good to enjoy those moments. We do appreciate them more because they are rarer.
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[User Picture]From: justbeast
2010-08-25 06:51 pm (UTC)
Wow, that is a whole lot of change!

(Totally feel you on the part where you're hurting for them, but don't have much way to help!)
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-08-25 08:55 pm (UTC)
It is a lot. Kind of crazy-making. But we will get through.
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[User Picture]From: firerose10
2010-08-25 06:52 pm (UTC)
You know someone is family when you feel torn up when they are in pain... And right now, I have a triple load - for you, Erin, and Amy... I wish I could give you a hug, go shopping with Erin and offer a surrogate "home" for Amy.

It will get better and Parent's Weekend is right around the corner!
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-08-25 08:58 pm (UTC)
Yes, it is. And Amy will come here for holidays, so this will still be home. It will work out. Just a little overwhelming right now.
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[User Picture]From: phillipalden
2010-08-25 07:49 pm (UTC)
Congratulations on your daughter's upcoming nuptials.

I hope the rest works itself out.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-08-25 09:03 pm (UTC)
Thank you! It's scheduled for September next, tentatively, so we have some time for all the fun.
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[User Picture]From: ba1126
2010-08-25 07:54 pm (UTC)
Your children are not your children; they are the living arrows shot from your bow. -Kahlil Gibran, in The Prophet.

This sentence has stayed with me since I first read it at 18. I knew I wanted lots of kids and would love them totally and would then have a hard time letting them go. This sentence reminds me that my children are not possessions to hug close and hang onto. My children belong to themselves. My job is to prepare them and guide them and aim them into the future.

Enjoy the shopping day and keep in touch with messages of support for both girls. My best wishes for everyone!
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-08-25 09:04 pm (UTC)
Oh, believe me, I've watched the smothering mom types and that is NOT going to happen here. We will definitely enjoy each other!
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[User Picture]From: kisekinotenshi
2010-08-25 10:03 pm (UTC)
I can sympathize with this. I've been having some problems with my mother lately because if I share my pain with her she gets angry (not at me, at the person causing the pain, which 99% of the time is my dad) and tells me not to share it with her. But no one else really understands. I was the only kid still at home when my parents divorced, so I'm still closer to my dad than either of my brothers, so half the time they'll listen but they can't really sympathize. My best friend is the product of a happy, loving home, and despite having been with me through the worst parts of the divorce, still can't really understand how much it hurts. I'm sure my mother only hates hearing about it because she knows she can't fix it for me, but it still makes me feel kinda crappy not to be able to get it out to someone.

Um. So that is to say, I can sympathize with you from both angles. I get how it sucks not being able to be there for your loved ones, and also how it sucks not to have someone there when you need them. It's just suckitude all around. But I take solace in the fact that it will get better someday. I've at least learned enough to know that.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-08-26 01:32 am (UTC)
It's definitely tough. Thanks for the empathy!
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[User Picture]From: roniliquidity
2010-08-25 10:43 pm (UTC)
I'm still a bit put out that not 3 years after I moved back to NE my parents sold the house, packed up and left. Now they want me to grab my grandmother and come to THEM for holidays because they have the dog. I spent a decade having to travel home for the holidays, now I'm home, they're retired and I still have to travel and take time off work? I DON'T WANT TO. Chances are high I might just spend them with Cody's family.

Yeah I'm also not quite over my folks putting my childhood home on the market 3 months before the wedding. I did not need more upheaval and WHAT IF IT SELLS contingency plans.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-08-26 01:38 am (UTC)
That is tough. Amy has known they were moving for a couple years - her dad basically talked his employer into not transferring him until she graduated from high school. So she doesn't have those same issues about the sale - in fact, she feels more attached to our house than theirs.

But what a pain in the but for you, you poor thing.
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[User Picture]From: firerose10
2010-08-26 12:30 am (UTC)
And now I REALLY feel your pain. I'm having to watch my daughter grow up in the harshest manner possible. She's learning that the world is a harsh place and not all parents are good ones. Sadly, it's with her best (and almost only) friend in this hellhole. When your parents are laying plans to help a child run away from home, you know the home life is screwed up. But my kiddo is getting shut out by people who said she was family.

Gini - I wish you could advise on MI family law... want to help - without getting arrested!
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-08-26 01:44 am (UTC)
I'm sorry you're going through such pain, I wish I could help.
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