Skip navigation

As most of you know, several years ago, I lost both my birth father and stepfather, very close in time to each other. For the last 3 years, I have been my mom’s primary caregiver, and she has not been well at all. Recently, she suffered 2 devastating falls and broke her right foot, left leg, and right hip. She is presently in a nursing home (temporarily) for rehab. She has also had some progressive mental issues, that seem to have gotten worse since her surgery, though sometimes she is completely clear. She experiences sporadic confusion, and memory loss. She will be a far different person, when she returns home, than she was when she left. All of this has changed me as well. It has been very stressful, and very painful emotionally, at times.

In the middle of all this, my daughter, who was adopted at age 3 (and is now 19), decided that she would try to find her mother. We have located her, and she is planning to visit and meet Chelsea in late September. She is presently in England. Of course, I have supported and encouraged Chelsea in her search, and have been very positive. (This will no doubt be a time of healing for her, that she desperately needs.) In my more rational moments, here is a link to what I want to feel:

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/469410/when_and_how_to_tell_your_child_they.html?cat=25 

I honestly did feel that way, when I wrote that article back in December of 2007. But now I’m facing the situation for real. One thing I try to do in my blogs, is to be honest about my feelings. I can never help anyone else, if I hide my true feelings. And it helps me work through my feelings, when I write them out.

Yesterday, I fixed some home cooking for Chelsea (spaghetti), and we shared with her what we had been able to find out. She is very excited, and looks forward to spending time with her mom on the beach, introducing her to her friends, and taking trips with her. Her mom is quite a bit younger than me, still hip (and a little on the wild side.) Though, she has become a Christian since we knew her, and that is a great relief. A girl of 19 is very impressionable, and I pray that her birth mom will be a good role model, and not just a best friend.

At any rate, it has stirred feelings within me, that I did not suspect it would. Whenever I considered it, in days gone by, I always calmly rationalized that someday she would probably want to meet her birth mom. We told her when she was little (in answer to her questions) that if she did want to find her, when she was older (18+), we would help her.

So now, in the middle of all my losses and daily pressures, that day has arrived. I now face her reunion with her mom, with feelings of excitement and trepidation. Chelsea was a very difficult child to raise. It took blood, sweat, and tears, and two parents working at it full time, to stay one step ahead of her. (One person could never have done it.) She came strong-willed, and that never changed. It was like being the matador in a continual bullfight. LOL!

I wanted to run away at times, (and did twice) because the pressure was so great. I was told by psychologists, that she saw me in the role of her mom (who she was angry at) and that she was trying to reject me, before I rejected her. I had to convince her that I loved her unconditionally, and that I would not leave her.

It took time, but God brought us closer and closer. She truly came to love me, and trust me. But as  she entered her teen years, she became even more defiant and rebellious. There are no words for the struggles we faced during those years. If there was a rule to break…she broke it. She and her father were in a constant tug of war. But still we loved her, and prayed for her.

She entered college this fall, on a full scholarship (Bright Futures), and then promptly dropped out, losing all of her financial aid . She never studied, and rarely attended classes. After working for a little more than minimum wage, these past months, she says she wants to go back to school. She will have to pay her own way, because we had an agreement that if she dropped out, and threw away her scholarship, we were not going to pay for her college.

So now into this picture, comes her birth mom.  Chelsea sees her as someone she can lie on the beach with, hang out with, and introduce to her friends. And this has me considering the question, “What is a mom?”

While I enjoy a friendship of sorts with my daughter, I can never be just a friend. She looks to me for fun and laughter, but also for guidance and honesty.

My fair skin has seen its best days on the beach, so I’m not likely to be a very good beach buddy at this time of my life. (She made sure that I saw her teeny weeny bikini when she was here yesterday, and I imagine her young, hip mom will have an even smaller one. She used to dress like a Barbie doll in mini skirts and spandex. LOL!) But as a Christian mother, my place is to be a role model for modesty, and Godly values.

She plans to travel (eventually) to visit her mom in England, and perhaps take  a trip with her to Australia. Her mom had (or has) a sailboat, and sailed all the way to Guatemala alone. I have never been out of the U.S., and probably never will. The farthest my husband and I have been for years, is the North Carolina mountains. (But they are so beautiful, that honestly, there is nowhere else I’d rather vacation.)

So, my raw feelings are, that it’s almost like we’ve done all the hard, heartbreaking work of nurturing and raising this child, and now when the hard part’s over, her birth mom steps into the picture, to reap all the rewards (and the hero worship.) What’s wrong with this picture? (Just some honest feelings as I think this through.)

Her birth mom says that she wants to live no more than an hour away from Chelsea by car or plane. We have welcomed her into our lives once again, because that is what Chelsea wanted. We have remained positive and encouraging to our daughter, and now we just have to walk it out. (The fun never ends…)

What do I feel? It’s a mixed bag for sure.

(Confused, happy for Chelsea, sad, a little jealous, a lot frustrated, hopeful, scared, gracious, concerned, conflicted.) And things that I don’t even have words for at the moment. A little afraid of what the messages will be about life, love, and priorities. But in a way, I feel relieved. Relieved that we actually made it this far, when we often wondered if we ever would. Relieved that someone else will have to deal with her temper, rebellion, and manipulative ways.

And relieved that this part of my life is coming to an end.  (Not that I’ll ever stop being her mom.) I have nurtured, loved and guided this little one for 16 years (she is now 19, and we got her at age 3), and I have truly learned the meaning of laying down my life totally and completely. My emotional and physical health has suffered greatly, but I did it. I saw it through, when at times I didn’t think I could. I have loved, even when the love wasn’t returned (and when it was), and I have continued to love through my tears, disappointment, and pain.

Many of my dreams of motherhood were just that…dreams. Because this was workhard work. And because she was so defiant, many things were not the way I would have wanted them to be. I wanted to give her a storybook life, but instead, together we learned the meaning of being faithful to a call, of loving until it hurts, and pressing on toward the finish line. As parents, we learned what it meant to balance love, with teaching the difficult, important lessons of life, which meant not always coming to her defense (when she was wrong), and making her live up to her responsibilities. It is not a popular role, but it is the role of a parent. I can only pray that somewhere along the way, some of the truths stuck, and that our love and discipline will guide her, even when we are gone.

I cherish the little girl days, and the memories that we have of mother and daughter.  The times when I couldn’t get her out of my bed. The times we laughed, and the times we cried. And I know that those times are deep within her spirit, in a sacred place of love and security. And I am so thankful that she knows the Lord, and was brought up in His ways, and with His values. He gave her to us, for a short time, and now He will complete what He started.

He knows and understands my brokenness, my pain, and my tears.

And I will still be here when the dust settles, and the shiny wears off, and the new fades, just as I have been all along…

Please read other articles that I have written here:

http://www.associatedcontent.com/user/109497/lonnette_harrell.html

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: