Feb 10, 2013


With a short thin jacket on her back, skinny pants, construction boots, holding a small bag of clothes and the phone clutched to her heart she left the house on January 7.. She wobbled away to live ‘her life’. We did not call but waited to hear from her in a matter of hours/days. Weeks went by and I started to wonder if I was wrong, totally and utterly wrong about my daughter, maybe I misjudged and underestimated her and now she is going to show me who and what she really is. An achiever, a strong and smart individual, a young woman determined to find love and live her life according to her needs and per her own design. 

Part of me gets quite excited and overjoyed hoping that she found herself; secured a job and that she is actively involved in getting what she wants. I remember the intense happiness and pride I felt to be on my own, to make my decisions provide for myself and help the less fortunate ones. All that in a new city, country, continent and at an younger age than my daughter. To this day I would not trade those experiences for anything in the world. 

But I’m afraid to rejoice at the assumption that my daughter finally made it and she found happiness within and outside herself all according to her wants. Prior experience tells me it might not be the case. And of course I begin to think the worst. She could be sleeping in dingy, dirt loaded places in the company of shady characters; drinkers, addicts, criminals the type of “friends” she's always gravitated toward as if to save them or place herself higher.  

Weeks into this deafening silence I call her late one evening. 

She calls me “mom, mommy” and cries “I’m so confused” and she cries more.  I know that talk, Psychology 001, the rudimentary alcohol impaired wheels turning.  She’s had a few. I listen as she demands I do, and she cries over what was done to her and how we do not understand her and she summarizes it stating that she does not want to do what we want her to do anymore! She does not want to go to school now, she needs a break, she does not want to work in retail either. 
“But you have no qualifications” I mutter. 
“I know, I know but I want to bar tend, just like you did, you are my role model, and I want do it too!” I dare not say what I know, bartending is not an easy job, it takes a lot more than mixing drinks, first and foremost you need an active on your toes and heels body and personality, a flexible mind and a strong self-esteem, a good degree of patience and innate interpersonal knack reinforced by skills. My daughter knows abrasiveness, bitchy judgmental temper and sitting in one spot for hours, like in front of a screen. Non bar-tending traits.

She goes on and I hear my 16 years old daughter crying doom and desperation five years ago. We’re in the same spot, the same predicament with sadness paralyzing the body, mind and soul. No change for better, no coming around, no progress, just breakage and irreparable rupture, the same self-pity refrain “I did it for you and tati (daddy) to see you proud of me, but it was the most miserable year of my life” she’s not done blaming me for sending her to Med School in Europe paying a full year tuition and expenses for her to drink, dull up in alcohol and idiotic company and fail all her classes. The conversation lasts well into the late night hours, ending when her phone battery dies. The next morning listless and sluggish I run to work while her words of reproach echo through my mind. 

Days later I call her again “how are you?” I ask, “everything okay?”
“Yes, I’m fine.” She replies
“I’m going to come home.”
“When?” I ask.
“Soon, this weekend for sure.” She says. It’s Thursday already.
“Okay, good, I'll see you home.”
“Bye mom.”

Later that night she texts me about wanting to come home, I say sure, come. And one o’clock at night I unlock the front door to let my daughter in. She steps in without a word and right into the shower she then crawls into the bed sound asleep within minutes. Hours later blurred by lack of sleep I go to work and do my best to make myself productive despite the sadness ringing my mind, I turn the situation inside out to detect the silver lining, she's home safe, and she'll come to her senses soon, we did teach her good things, they are all deep pegs inside her mind waiting to be used... Home in the afternoon she’s still asleep.

“Are you going to sleep the entire day?” I calmly ask.
“What now? I’m tired I need to sleep!” annoyance alters her voice as I stand in the doorway weighting my reply before letting it out to damage an already shredded relationship.
“You cannot sleep the entire day and stay up all night we cannot start this again.”
“I need to sleep! What do you want me to do now? “
“You can go online check for jobs and college registration.”
“I do not want to do that! I have my plans, let me sleep now, I’ll get up in half an hour.” Phone in her hand she pulls the blanket up to her face ending the conversation and dismissing me so I close the door and leave her alone. Two hours later she’s still asleep and angry to see my face again. 

Back to the first square we go… I must be a bystander provider while she sleeps all day, hangs online or with “friends” all night unproductive for as long as she feels like, "cuz" she’s young she has her entire life ahead of her, she's in no sprint against the clock, plenty of time for her to get an education and a job.
 “Not with your confused state of mind and no habits, you don’t! Get a job have your money, your fun and decide what career to pursue all in due time. It may seem like you have a long time ahead of you but don’t forget -time flies and we fly through time- either way before you know it time creeps up on you and catches you with your pants down, unprepared. Only yesterday you were this 8 years old girl getting her library card. Remember?“ You'll be 21 next month.
“I don’t want to talk about this, now!”
“What do you want us to do while you sleep, have fun and think of nothing?”

Once again I leave the bedroom and slump on the living room couch frowned in gloom realization of my loss. I lost my daughter. She has become a stranger, a distant detached and cold stranger. She cares not for our love, presence or support we are the old people, the Obsolete ones, she has no use for us or even worse we are the ones damaging her, the enemies!

A while later she thumps out of the bedroom into the bathroom and within minutes in the kitchen where she eats alone in darkness then breaks her silence with an elaborate story about leaving again to meet up with a friend that's going to help her get a job.... I nod and she leaves without looking back. Slumped on the couch I feel tears streaming to my chin I dry my face and straighten my back knowing I must let go, against my better judgment, I must let go! She's already gone, distant and estranged and selfish enough to be okay or suffer by herself!

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