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There is no way to put into words the pain of realizing that you cannot protect the child you have nutured and loved. You can no longer provide that sanctuary of security that kept her safe for so many years. She is on her own now, and claims to know so much more than we do.  She is so wise, yet so naive. Suddenly at almost 19, there is nothing she cannot do, and she reminds us of it constantly. (We have become so amazingly unintelligent, that it’s a wonder we can find our way home.) 

She takes risks and puts herself in situations that defy reason and logic. (But of course, reason and logic are not part of a teenager’s vocabulary.)

She has heard our warnings so many times, that she can play the violin smoothly through all of them. (We are so out of touch and misguided.)

She cannot know the fear of getting a phone call in the middle of the night that will change your world forever. Nor can she know what it is to sit up in bed suddenly and just feel that something is terribly wrong. All mothers are psychics to a degree, and uneasy prophets. We try to dismiss that ethereal grip of unspoken knowing… just knowing.

We cry from disappointment, we cry from fear, and we cry from longing for days gone by. To once again be able to pull up the covers, and snuggle like teddy bears, and know that all is right with the world, at least for a moment.

I have faced the monsters that hide under the bed, and the ghosts that linger in the corner. And I was brave and courageous, because this was my child they were terrorizing. But they were not half as scary as the demons she fights now-friends who are evil, and a world that wants to rob her of her innocence. If only I could chase those monsters as easily.

So I have to watch helplessly, as she falls into the abyss of darkness and compromise. I scream as she nears the edge, but she cannot hear me anymore. She has gotten too far from my reach, or even the sound of my voice. And I can hear the echos of childhood, as she falls deeper and deeper.

There is no pain like a mother’s pain. No love as pure, or sorrow as deep. My baby girl, where have you gone and why did you have to leave?…



  1. My heart breaks for you. Something I know now more than ever in my life, is that no matter how far our children seem to go from our teaching, our guidance, and our love…they never forget, and somewhere in their hearts and in their heads, they still love us, and remember the things we taught them.

    Yes, some of our kids live riskier lives, and we feel helpless to change their behavior. And, yes, some of their choices in friends and activities scares the heck out of us. No one can know those times you described so well, the middle of the night phone calls, and more, like a mother.

    Sometimes, out of “the abyss of darkness and compromise”, rises light and collaboration. Sometimes, our kids will come sit with us and say things like, “Thank you for saving my life so many times, Mom.” Owen said those very words to me back in April or May. I can’t remember exactly when, I just remember how he looked when he said it, and how I responded. When he left the room, I cried. What I wish I could tell him now, is how many times he saved mine.

    Two weeks ago, when Nat and I were on a long drive, he told me how thankful he was to have me as his mother, and that he didn’t regret the hard times, that he learned a lot from them. He is literally saving my life right now, though as his mother, I don’t want to burden him with such a heavy responsibility as that, so I keep the thought to myself.

    No one can tell you how to make this period of mothering better. We all have suggestions, but only you know your daughter the way you do. Only you can decide what’s right in the moment. I know you are a praying person, and I know that will help get you through the hard times.

    I love my children forever, and I’ve always shared my stories with them, even the really hard ones. I tried my best to guide them into making good life choices. They made a lot of choices they realized later were far and away the worst of their options. They have talked with us about them often. Nat is 25. He is making wonderful choices. I’m so proud of him. Owen is in a safe place now. No one can hurt him anymore, and he can’t hurt himself. I miss him so much.

    I’ve gone on too long for a comment, and I promised I wouldn’t give you suggestions on what to do. Warning: I’m going to break my promise now. Keep talking to your daughter as often as possible. Keep telling her you love her. If she doesn’t answer the phone, leave her messages. If you don’t hear back from her, drop off notes at her house, write her letters. Share your stories with her, so she can learn by your example. And, pray.

    In one of Owen’s journals, he wrote the following, and we don’t know who it was about. If I think it was about me, the guilt is overwhelming. Lea assures me Owen wrote it about a girlfriend. She assures me I wasn’t a controlling mother. I’ll never know. He said, “The more you try to control me, the more you erase me.”

    Share your stories. And, pray.

  2. I have an almost 15 yr old that is very smart and not engaged in unusual activity with friends or school so far…my pain is coming from her increasing inability to show any kind of respect, kindness or love in any way shape or form to me, or her Dad. I do everything for her…but also carry on with my own life, work, study. I make time to go shopping, eat and take her to Irish dance. Is this how it starts? Other Mom’s tell me there daughter hugs and shows kindness and not blatant disrespect. What have we done? Why is she like this?

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