What a whirlwind of emotion this holiday season!!! I'm amazed at how life has changed. Both good and bad. Change is difficult but necessary I suppose to make room for growth. As Christmas approached this year, I had decided over the summer to force myself to put up a tree regardless of the changes I had to push this to happen. It seems my home had taken on a life of sadness. In short; my home had become a reflection of what I felt and had been feeling for a few years now. Right before Thanksgiving I put my tree together and placed it happily in my little living room. In an instant, my home was feeling happier, merrier, and indeed, I had to smile that I had made an effort. I didn't know what was to come. My daughter had called some time before and wanted to visit overnight. There has been so much destruction. So many lies and manipulations and I knew she had been the victim, but I was helpless to solve her heartache. I was painted to be a horrid person, and even though there was no evidence to back these accusations, she fell for the manipulations. I sat by for the past couple of years hearing the last words she spoke to me, "I don't know if I want a relationship with you. I'll let you know when I want to talk." I didn't call, text, email, or anything. I removed myself from her FB, and I waited. Every single day at 6:10 pm I would look at my phone knowing she was off from work and on her way home. Times past she would have called me just to chat or ask for a recipe or find out how my day was going. For the last two-plus years my phone remained silent. At least the call I wanted (hers) never came. I eventually stopped being triggered at 610pm and just went about my evening. It was gut-wrenching, and my emotions were overwhelming. My anger turned to rage, and then my rage turned to hatred for her father. I couldn't, and still can't, understand the motivation for the things he has chosen to say and do. I just cannot wrap my head around his "plans."

Let's move on and fast forward. My daughter arrived with her husband for a visit. He had his apologies to make to me, and he did well before 12-24. The first few hours were uncomfortable for me. I had changed from the mother she knew, and I know she picked up on these changes. I was not the mom she remembered. She said to me, "Mom, you seem different." I replied that "yes, I am different, but my love for you is the same." What else could I say? Well, honestly there was a lot I wanted to say, but I had made myself a promise not bring up the past. The divorce, the lies, the manipulations were having a playdate in my mind. I had decided to enjoy our visit without any agenda; I wanted to let the evening and the visit "happen." Little did I know she had other plans. We ended up in my bedroom with a glass of wine, and she wanted to talk. I cleared the air about a few things that have been weighing on her. I didn't trash her father and made clear that I wouldn't do that ever. She asked questions, and I answered. She asked if there was anything I wanted to say to her. I simply said, "the day you decided you didn't want a relationship with me was certain death for me. I cannot describe to you the immense pain and loneliness I felt when you decided to remove yourself from my life. To stop our relationship. You made a choice based on what you were told, and you decided to believe things not based on fact or a solid foundation. I understand why and how that happened, but the pain of losing you was far worse than any pain I've ever experienced. I survived though, and as much as it seems hard to believe your absence forced a new growth within me." Her beautiful brown eyes swelled with tears, and she said: "I'm so sorry momma, I don't know how I believed what so easily." I told her that when tragedy strikes, it is normal (in my opinion) to have a "bad guy," and we need someone to blame, to hate, to rage against and I was that person for her. I told her I don't hold any negative feelings or blame. I see her an innocent and what she was exposed to was unnecessary and pointless.

The visit was healing for the most part. We still are not where we once were, and I doubt that relationship will be possible moving forward. Instead, I am hoping for a new relationship. My daughter is a fantastic woman, and I'm lucky to be her mother. What she doesn't know is that I am cautious. Only because I believe this is human nature. I fear her heart will change and I will once again, be missing her, but that will be her decision. I know today that that pain is real and can be a reality should she make that choice again. I almost told her all the dirt on her father. I almost ruined that relationship. I could have released every single fact I do have. I could have uncovered his filth, and it would most certainly destroy their relationship, but you know what? I wouldn't. I can't. I love her, and I love my son more than that. I respect myself more. I have to live with my words and actions. That behavior is beneath me, and my children deserve an honorable mother. Their father is showing what he is made of now and they are not pleased. The one time during her visit that I could have been harmful is when she said "what is wrong with him? How can he be moving on from you to his girlfriend and now to a new one and get engaged? He hasn't even been without anyone since you left." I said, "you know, you may not approve or agree with him but he is your father, and I know he loves you. Just be in his life and be happy for him even when you don't understand or approve." That was THE most difficult thing for me to say but I meant it.

I am finding that the more I heal, the better I can see him for who and what he is and that doesn't change the person I am today. He has no power over me now. His opinion of me hold no importance. I am still single, and by choice, I am beginning to enjoy this life. Some days are harder than others, but I have no problem with what I see in the mirror. I have no difficulty sleeping. When I smile, it is with my whole heart. When I laugh, it takes over my soul. That is something I thought would never happen again. What happens now with my daughter? I don't know, but I'm hoping that my phone will ring at 610pm one day. I still look, and I continue to hope for more, but I also am so grateful for that visit. We are in a true healing phase of our mother-daughter relationship. The most significant gifts in my life are my children, my peace of mind and my strength to not just succeed but to grow into a better woman through this journey. I have a long road to travel. The pain is still with me. I still love my husband. I long for what I once knew, but I know now that isn't possible. My new life has taken on a new energy, and I am a new woman. I'm becoming the woman I need to be, and in time, I will be whole again. I've come too far. Peace.