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