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Lost at the Midpoint

I wanted to see her but, she didn’t want to see me. Mother’s Day this year was nothing like it had ever been in the past. And, it was a brutal reminder of the distance that had already been between us, even before she left. Sending her to live with her dad and his sweet wife in Florida, seemed like the best solution, a tough choice for both of us. Our home in California had never been the most harmonious place but, I always did my best to put on a happy face and see the good in every day. Showing my children there’s always something positive to be found, even in difficult times.


Before the Pandemic, she had already begun to build a new life within the online world. Her friends, her interests, practically her whole life existed inside the machine, leaving me feeling like a stranger in her life. In a small way, it gave me comfort knowing she was home and, knowing where I could find her at any time. This would prove to be very toxic.


Managing my son's needs alongside the responsibilities of maintaining a household filled with pets, respite caregivers, and the occasional handyman left little room for anything else but, I always tried to find a path to her realm and was successful several times.


Despite our troubles, there have been happy times but, the facade was doomed from the beginning in more ways than one and, once the “rug was pulled”, our once mostly peaceful home turned into a battleground, with no end in sight.


My daughter has a way of opening my eyes to things I would have never seen otherwise. Video games have never been my thing, but I remember her asking me for weeks to play a game called “Outer Wilds” with her. When I finally made time, I was amazed by how intricate and creative it was. Although she finished it on her own, our shared mission remains unfinished. She also introduced me to shows like Merlin, Lucifer, and Anne with an E, which I would never have picked on my own. Last year, she adopted a beautiful German Shepherd named Luna, who has been a wonderful addition to our family. Learning about GS dogs has been a unique experience; Luna’s intelligence and sweetness mirror that of her loving owner.


She’s angry with me and has been for a while, Emma not Luna. I don’t blame her, the last couple years have been really hard for all of us but especially her. She didn’t get into her dream school, Stanford, or even her second choice, UCLA, which was a huge blow considering all her school friends were accepted to, and admitted to the schools they wanted.


Then came the money troubles. In a matter of 5 months during 2023, we lost 95% of our income. First came the IHSS wolves to the door and despite my tireless efforts to fight it, they were successful at blowing our house down. The first half of our income wiped out like a move on a game board, not eligible for unemployment, that was June.


My husband was next on the chopping block, and the corporate hounds came lurking in, huffing and puffing, threatening to take us all out completely and they did. September 29th was his last day of work for a company he had been with for 26 years. The severance package was just another match on the flames. Second half of our income, including our health insurance was now gone.


Emma was accepted to the University of Utah and Embry-Riddle in Florida but, the scholarships were not enough to cover the approximately $30K required for just one semester. Looking back, had I foreseen where this path would lead us, I would have taken the damn parent plus loan and just dealt with it all later. It’s not as if I don’t already have a student loan I’ve been paying on for 20 years. It would have been worth it.


The stress of all this was just too much and caused some severe sensory overloads for my son. This led to me having to hospitalize him again which led to him being in a group home, which led to more heartache and pain.


Then came the divorce decree and all bets were off. The discord, dysfunction and dismay won, and I dropped all the balls I had been juggling. That was October 2023, it’s already half way through June 2024 and it all still feels, very fresh. It’s as if I’ve been floating in space, just watching all of this unfold without having any control over any of it.


Lost, at the midpoint of life. Fifty?! I sigh and gently shake my head as if time matters. So much has changed and continues to change, it’s hard to keep up. I say the number fifty with such skepticism as if, it’s not even possible. Yet, here I am, half way through my 49th year of life. The last ten years have been the hardest, not having family or friends close by. Not being able to really make new friends because of our unique circumstances.


Mother’s Day this year was hard. I don’t fully blame her although, her assertiveness towards being an independent adult makes me hope she at least “sees it” now or, will come to see her part in that sad day. Clearly I overshot the mark when it comes to her dad. Assumptions are never a good idea after all and he and I had not spent any real time together in about 15 years.


While I sat in my rental car, crying and shaking uncontrollably in the restaurant parking lot after being admonished publicly by both of them, they drove away laughing. I wish this was a moment I could forget or, write off as “teenage petulance” but that doesn’t seem possible right now.


I miss my daughter. I miss her smile, and her randomness about a million different subjects. Her wit, and her humor. But most of all, I miss her hugs and kisses.


Everyone I have consulted about this says the same things, “it’s normal”, “she’ll come around”, and many of them have stories to back up their words. This gives me hope!


Hoping, at the midpoint.


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