Are you OK Mama?

The salesclerk asked me as I was purchasing the new blow dryer and a boxed set of my favorite body butter, shower cream, and body scrub.  I looked up and said “what?”  I thought I didn’t hear her right.  She repeated “Are you OK mama?”  and I had to respond that I was a little rattled and was surprised (don’t know why) that it showed.   I told her I just got off the phone with my daughter who had been in a car accident.  She said she would walk me out of the store.  She came around the counter, held my hand, and walked me to the door.  She said “sometimes it is hard to be the mom.”  Oh, she has no idea.  Or again, maybe she does – what do I know?  I do know it was a moment of the beautiful kindness of a stranger.

I sat in my car and thought about who I could call.  I came up with a list of no one.  In my head, I went through all of my friends, and my sponsor.  I have been through 18 years of not being really able to talk to anyone about my daughter when she is not doing well.  Ironically, I could think of three bloggers who I could talk to.  They were it.  Later I did talk with one of my very supportive friends.

My daughter is physically OK.  And the person in the other car she hit is OK.  That’s the important thing.

But my daughter is full of self-loathing for being so “stupid.”  The accident was clearly her fault.  She had liability insurance only.  She bought this car last week.  With cash, thank God.  She didn’t like the car from the second day she had it and had planned to sell it – don’t think that is going to happen.

All I could say to her was “Darling, all you need is a whole lot of money, and that is exactly the thing I cannot help you with.  But I can be here for you.”  I guess I could have decided not to pay my bills and instead pay for a tow-truck and God alone knows what else for her.  But I know that she is the most resourceful person I have ever known, and she will figure it out – to the best of her ability.  For now, the car is still sitting along-side the road.  She has a friend who does auto-body work, and I think he has volunteered to help her.  She found a ride to get to school, and attended her class.  I understand that kind of focus, that is how I was when I was in school.

Last night I felt the familiar stab in the gut of ulcer pain.  I took some antacids.  Then I took some zantac.  I went to bed in pain.  But woke up without it.

I am not used to this kind of turmoil.  It is taking a toll on me.  If I talked to my sponsor, she would tell me to throw my daughter out.  Most of my friends would too.

But I am 60 years old and a bit of a morbid reflector – I have many regrets in life, but the one thing I do not regret is that I stood by my daughter always.  When no one else would. I had to have some distance from her when she was using, but I was still there, and she knew it.  She credits me for the fact that she is still alive.  She always knew that I was there and that I loved her.  And if I reach the end of my life and that is all that I have, it is enough for me.

My sponsor has three children, none of whom she is in contact with.  She can clearly articulate why.  I do not agree with her.  I have a couple of times told her that.  She has her own mind.  And I have mine.

My daughter is sober.  She has always had a man to make every decision for her, and now she doesn’t.  She is making the decisions and taking the actions of maybe a 16 year old?  I understand.  She has no experience with the things that other people did when they were in their teens and 20s.  She has no experience with making decisions for herself.  She is learning the lessons of a child.

If my stomach hurts and I look like a wreck, I would think those are my reactions to what is going on.  I can work to change that.  I am not going to work to change my daughter – she is on her own path and has her own relationship with God.  I am not the intermediary.  I believe she is absolutely doing the best she can with what she’s got.

I may be forced to attend alanon to work on my own reactions.  Dammit!  I hate it when I am forced to grow!

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man.  God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.  — 1 Corinthians 10:13


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14 Responses to Are you OK Mama?

  1. patty says:

    Oh, Mary. My heart goes to you. You are doing the right thing if it feels right in your heart. I have always focused on all thje times my mom let me down, and it only recently that I have been able to acknowledge to myself and to her, how blessed I have been to have her in my corner when I was down and out so many times. I do not look at her an enabler, but as that one person who has always loved me unconditionally.

  2. Kelly says:

    I can so relate to this! All I thought while I read is “trust your mama instinct.” What happened was not the result of a moral failing, just a human mistake. At least that I can glean. I can’t see why on earth she would merit having to leave your house.
    I am going very similar things with my three girls in their early twenties. So far, all my growing is done by letting them live here.
    Whatever happens, know you have my prayers! +JMJ+

    • Thank you Kelly. All of my kids left home pretty much as soon as they could. I have not been “up close and personal” with this chaos for a very long time. But I will grow through it, as you remind me.

      Thanks for your prayers.

  3. Annette says:

    Oh Mary, I wish right now that we could have a cup of coffee together and sit and talk about all of this, because YES, I can relate to you. I have run the gamut of no contact (that felt like my arm was being ripped off,) to finding a good middle ground where we are right now, but having our adult kids, in our home with us, is hard. Even in the best of circumstances it is hard.
    And that store clerk… angel in skin sent by your Heavenly Father who loves his girl so so much. And bless your daughter’s heart……so brave is she.

    • Annette, I remember when I was waiting for my daughter to be 18, so I wouldn’t have to be so involved. My sister wisely told me “it doesn’t end at 18, or 25, or 30…. they are always your kids.”

  4. Syd says:

    MC, it seems you have good Al-Anon by your writing and actions on this post. She has her own HP. Letting her figure things out sounds good to me. I am glad that she was not physically harmed. Cars can be fixed. Thinking of you.

  5. luluberoo says:

    Andrew is living at home because he does so much better with structure and support. But there are days when I’m totally stressed out. I question if I’m doing the right thing, but always come up with the same answer: yes. It’s beyond difficult for a non skilled ex felon to make it. He really is trying, and that’s all we ask. I understand what you mean when they make bad decisions…because they don’t “know” any better. So much that is obvious to other 30 year olds, is unfathomable to them. But like you, I don’t know how to do anything but stand by them.

    And about once a month something happens, that makes me go glad he still doesn’t have his license. Another reminder here today. I’m grateful your daughter is OK. The other person is OK. She feels awful. At least she has a safe, warm place to sleep tonight. And a mama and a dog that love her unconditionally.

    Your are not alone, you are not crazy, and you are not wrong.

  6. daisyanon says:

    Praying for you and your daughter MC.

    If she manages to get the car back on the road, saying prayers of blessing and protection in it before she drives might help. Also putting a rosary or St Christopher medal in it.

    • Thanks for your prayers. Believe it or not, she already has a rosary and St. Christopher medal in it. Now all she needs is something to contain that big dog of hers, she was trying to push him back into the back seat when she hit the car in front of her that was at a dead stop.

  7. Mary LA says:

    What a great Mama you are! And what a steep learning curve for your daughter and for you.

    Out here most Xhosa and Sotho people call me Mama or Isisi (Sister) it is a term of respect and affection.

    • Thanks Mary.

      I am sure at one time I would have found being called “mama” insulting. Now I take it as respectful and affectionate. My boss calls me “mama!”

      It’s like “ma’am,” I hated that until I dated a southern man who called me that. He said others asked him not to do that, but it was hard-wired into him. I saw it as so respectful and a sign of his good “up-bringing.”

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