My 18 year old daughter has taken a very difficult road to adulthood. In the last three years I have been introduced to the juvenile and adult justice systems, rehab, closed bank accounts because of ongoing thefts, Medicaid, WIC and people I would have previously crossed the street to avoid.
Radical thinkers on one side think Ashley and I are blessed to teach each other about love and acceptance. Radical thinkers on the other side think I should tell her it’s been swell but I don’t want her in my life anymore. To be honest I’ve been on both sides. I always end up somewhere in the middle though. She is my child and it is my lifetime job to be her mother.
I had such big dreams for her. I never cared what she decided to be when she grew up. I did think she would have lots of friends and get decent grades in school and get a job so she could make her own way. A couple pretty bad things happened to her when she was little and she never got over the shame of being “given away” by her birth mother. Still I didn’t see all this coming. Lord knows I would have moved heaven and earth.
Ashley did graduate from high school and she has had jobs. She has had lovely friends from very nice families. But she is not fulfilling my dreams and that’s hard to take even as I know while writing this it’s not her responsibility to do so. The rocky path continues and I often run into people who ask how she’s doing or need to refer to notes because their children are so accomplished.
I am not alone or so I’ve been told. A prosecutor told me last summer I am that rare parent who refuses to cover up for their child and let them bear the consequences of their actions. Perhaps that’s the one degree that will make the difference for Ashley. I’ll let you know.