Four years ago, I held a tiny baby boy in my arms. I only had a few moments to study his face and imagine how his eyes might have sparkled when he smiled and what his voice would have sounded like when he called me Mom. And then I had to say good-bye.
Fifteen and a half years ago, I held my baby girl in my arms. She has the most beautiful eyes and a gorgeous smile. She still calls me Momma. I am so very proud of her. She is smart and full of personality. She is so very confident and strong and honest and loving. She makes friends easily and always stands up for those who can not stand up for themselves. In just a few days she will be flying to Haiti on a missions trip (with people that she doesn't even know) and working in an orphanage. She is beautiful inside and out. She is the person that I wish I was.
She is fifteen.
And She is breaking my heart.
You see, She's just announced that when she returns from Haiti, she will be leaving my house and going to live with her dad. She has already said good-bye to all of her friends. She quit her band. She is ready to register for school in a town two hours away from here. This decision was swift and unexpected. "You've done nothing wrong Mom," she tells me, "It's just that I want to spend time with my dad." She is very much like her father in this way. It's all or nothing with them. She will not be satisfied with seeing him every weekend. Her mind is made up. She was too young to remember the reasons why her dad and I split up, and too young to understand the complexities of our relationships.
I am broken. Everything I've done in the last 18 years, I've done with my kids best interests at heart. Sure, I've made mistakes, but I haven't taken one step without thinking of them first. I've cherished every moment with them and can't help but feel that my daughter is being ripped away from me far too soon. I was not prepared for this. I thought I had a few more years until I had to let her go and that she would be heading off to college or university and that we could have shared those decisions and that experience together. I want to know her friends and her boyfriends. I want to take her to get her driver's license. I want to be the one who's there for her when life doesn't go according to plan.
It sure isn't going according to MY plan! My head tells me that I need to be supportive of her and let her make her own decisions (*MISTAKES*) and that's what I'm trying to do, but my heart and every other cell in my body is screaming NO!!!... FIGHT! I want to hold on. I don't want her to go. I don't want to miss out on this precious time with her...This time that I thought I had earned. I thought it was mine. Maybe I need her more than she needs me.
I Don't know how to handle this with Grace or Dignity.