This is a very personally emotional email that I sent to my daughter today.
I contemplated posting this, but this is part of my journey, part of parenthood and part of who I am.. so here you go..
Stomach in knots.. worry does not even give the word justice and feeling pretty
much like failure as a parent.. disappointment, sadness and ache fills my heart
and sadness that I can't be there to ensure everything is okay... My life feels
like it was turned upside down overnight.. and everything I thought I knew..
makes me realize I didn't know at all... Sending love to my family and apologies
for the drama that has ensued... We will all get thru this, I know.
To my daughter, with love.
When I was 19, and your dad and I found out we were pregnant with you, we were
estatic. I spent 9 months in bliss, during a pregnancy that was very exciting
and happy for me. Long before you were born, I loved you with a love unmatched.
I had so many great plans and was ready to be your mother. I was so excited to
see you and hold you. SO many of my friends were there to support me, and
help me deliver you and then again to help me, while your dad was deployed.
I never, for one minute thought of anything but love and excitement for who or
what you would become.
I think as parents we spend so much time waiting for the firsts, that after you
were born, and I cradled you, after your sleepy days were over, I was anxious
for your first word, your first steps, your first birthday. As time has gone
on, I have been excited to see what you would become, what paths you would
choose for goals. You wanted cheerleading, and softball, and then politics,
then to pageants, and more cheerleading.. possibly a Marine Pilot, a politician, a
Naval Officer.. The doors and options are limitless. I see in you, so much of me.
Your strength, your controlling factor (isn't always a bad thing :)) Your
stubbornness, your debating skills, your defensiveness. I see the potential for
you to be whatever you want to be, so long as you dream it, aspire to be it and
never quit working for it. You see, thats what I have become. A person with
goals, who aims for them, and no matter how long it takes, I make it. You can do
WHen I was your age now, I spent so many years looking for love and acceptance
from friends, and boys, and family. I spent too much time chasing after boys..
looking for their acceptance in all the wrong ways.. I thought that their acceptance
would make me feel better inside, would make me feel like a success, or like a
"woman" which I was not yet ready for. I liked all the guys who showed 1% of
liking me.. any attention, and affection and it was enough. What I have realized now
was that was not the acceptance I was needing or looking for. and that is not
what you nor I deserve. It has to be 100% and them some. You are not ready for that
yet - although you think you are. I don't think even I am ready for that yet and I
am 35. I thought I was.. but I have realized, I still have so much more to accomplish
and complete, before I am ready to accept nor give more that 100% of myself to a man.
When I was your age, no matter how many guys liked me, no matter how many of my friends I pleased,
it was not fulfilling the part of me inside that was lacking. NO matter who I saw, who
I said yes to, who I compromised my integrity for, it was not a rewarding feeling
at the end of the day I was still feeling alone inside myself. It wasn't until I
decided to plan out my life, plan out my life goals, no matter how high, how silly
other people may have thought they to be, I listed things in my life that I wanted.
And one by one, I have worked on those. No matter who has come in to my life,
no matter who has walked out on me in my life. My goals were the one constant.
Fulfilling them, is what made me feel succesfull and as if there were meaning to my
life and what I was to do.
You are young and have so much to offer, but you deserve better. You should not
treat your body as an outlet to pleasing any boy that shows interest, you should not
compromise your integrity and your relationships with your family and especially me
for the affection of a boy that will not be around in a week, or a month.
You are not ready for the adult decisions you are making - nor was I. I know we all
learn the hard way, I, of all people understand that making our own mistakes, helps
us to grow.. BUt its when you make the same mistakes over and over that you are not
helping your self. We should be learning from our mistakes, not repeating them.
I am not a good role model to some degree, in that I have made some of the same mistakes
over and over and it took until I was in my 30s to realize what I was doing. I don't want
to see you go through what I went through. I married too young, I married becuase I was
pregnant, and when I finally did have it right, I lost sight of what was important and
hurt a good man. THen moved on to the next who then broke my heart. I thought I was
doing things right, but looking back, I lost sight of my own goals, and was willing
to throw that away for the love and affection of a man. I have made multiple mistakes
that have affected you and your brothers, and for that I am ashamed and can never take
back what ever pain that may have caused you - but I am here to tell you, that that is no
excuse for your behavior.
I have taught you from my mistakes. I have talked to you endlessly about what really
happens out there. What boys say, what friends do, how some girls can befriend you
and how boys are always at the heart of those issues. I have taught you that you
are smart enough and to make whatever dream you have come true. I have pounded in your head
the importance of always being honest - no matter how much it hurts, becuase its the
one thing in life you can never ever live without.. YOUR HONOR. Without that, you will have
nothing. If you are a person that can not be trusted, you will never get anywhere.
THat is the one thing, I apparently failed at getting into you. Integrity, honor. You word.
Trust. REponsibility. Gratitude. Remorse. Manipulation. You have become the master
at manipulating for your own benefit.
I will not take responsibility for what you have done to me, and the rest of the family last night.
Listen, sneaking out to meet someone, bad- yes. but normal or something teenagers do, yes
I can handle that. We can deal with that. You take your punishment like an adult, for
making a mistake, for doing something you knew was wrong - then, it would be over.
But this time, you did more than that. You didnt just sneak out and worry your aunt
and uncle, your grandparents, family and myself - you blatanlty lied about it, even
when faced with the truth. You lied, even after I cried to you on the phone from
Afghanistan, telling you how worried we all were when you were missing. How all I could
think of was that you were lying face down in a ditch somewhere dead. How I worried
and knew there was ABSOLUTELY nothing I could do from 7000 miles away, except call everyone
you knew, and everyone I knew there. When you were finally found, I didn't know what I was
feeling inside.. SOOO SOO Grateful to GOD that you were alive and well - but then
infuriated at what you caused us all to go thru while worrying you. THen, you
lied to me, thru my tearful pleas to be honest - you lied. THat tells me that you have
not respect for me, your Aunt, your Grandma.
You have the life Katrina. You were more or less treated as a young adult, and given
freedoms that I was not afforded at your age. You guys may think its harder to live
with Granmda and Papa becuase they are stricter - but - let me tell you. They are NOTHING
compared to what they used to be and I have learned now, that it was for the best!
we are not ignorant to what you guys do.. when you think you are being sneaky and getting
away with something, we know. We may not tell you that we know, but we do - but we also
know that some of it is part of growing up. Its part of life. Its what we do as kids to
push the limits - and so long as you are HONEST - its not a big deal. We face the
consequences to our actions and take responsibility for making decisions that you knew
was wrong. That is part of the process. That is how we learn and what we take to our children
as we get older.
Grandma and Papa have afforded all of you the life. You have no chores except to clean up
your own messes and keep your room cleaned up. No more kitchen duties, laundry duties,
and the plethera of other duties that I had given you all to help me out. You have no
bedtime and are allowed to stay up as late as you want, so long as it doesnt affect
your school. You have your cell phone all night and a computer to chat with all your friends.
You have Grandma and Papa to cheauffer you to all your trainings, tryouts, pageants, and
whatever it is that is interesting you at the moment. All they and I ask for in return
is a little gratitude. Some appreciation. You never gave that to me either. YOu felt
it was owed to you. You deserved it. Someone HAD to do it. Not the case. Just as I will not
allow you to disrespect me any further by lying to me, I will not tolerate you disrespecting
them either. They don't deserve it. They have done nothign but love you and continue to treat
you like the YOUNG adult you are. The things weall do with and for you all is becuase
we love you, want to see you happy and want to see you succeed in life. You go out there
and think that people owe you something. No one owes you anything. The only thing I
as a parent have to provide for you is a clean place to live, and clean clothes to wear to
school, and food to ensure you're fed. ALOT of kids don't even have that!
You have so much more. In the last 5 years, I have been able to spoil you all, giving you
things you want, not necessarily need. Giving you each your own cell phone, your own
TVs, computers, XBOX, WII, you name it, you had it. I would get it for you, becuase
I could. Becuase I love you and wanted to see you happy. BUT YOU always always took
advantage of that. A simple THank you, when I request it, is not enough gratitude.
YOu should be showing your appreciation for the good life you live by the actions you
take. By being honest, even when wrong, even when you've done something wrong. By
being honest and appreciative of everything. Genuine appreciation that you are not
living in a car with no clean clothes, no real home and nothing to call your own.
You should be grateful that I have provided that for you! All the ammenities that you
have - I have worked for. I have spent 17 years of my life in the NAvy, trying to make
a better living, a secured lifestyle. Trying to be successful and not have to worry about
not paying the bills, not having enough food or clothing. I have sacrificed my time
to complete that process.
Yes, you guys have sacrificed to, I get that. You have had to live without your mom for
a number of times, in order for me to continue to provide you with a good, stable life.
You are not the only kid in the world that has had to do without a parent for a time being,
or both for that matter. You have had both of us, and have lived with both of us at
separate times. You have gotten to travel, and spend time with your sisters as well as
your family here. There are some kids that don't have that luxury. YOUR BROTHERS are some
of them. THey do NOT have their father, they have lived without him for all but 2 years TOTAL
of their life. He has been non-existant and failed them.. and they had to stand by and watch
as it all took place. They don't have a "DAD" to call - the closest they have to that is
Uncle Mike - who has been there thru the duration with Aunt Tammy. But it is not the
same and you know that. You know that one day, they will bear some resentment and emotional
issues becuase of the abondment and failure their father was to them. Atleast you dont have
that. NO matter how much you have faught with your dad, he has always been there for you.
Even when you didn't want him to be. SO instead of feeling sorry for yourself, with such
a rough life you live, maybe you ought to start showing some compassion to your brothers, to
your family who is taking care of you (Aunt Tammy & Mike/Grandma & Papa) Maybe you should
show some true emotional happiness that you have family around eagerly waving their hands
to volunteer to spend time with you, nurture you and hold you while I am away. It could
be worse - You could have no mom & dad - some kids have that. Some kids have lost their
parents for good, for whatever reason - be grateful that no matter how far away we may be -
we are still here. You can still hear our voices, see our faces, through whatever means.
First and foremost you need to start being honest with yourself and everyone else.
I love you, with all my heart, but right now I am soo ashamed and it hurts my heart to know
the lengths you would go to try and get away with something. I thought we always had a
pretty good relationship. I thought I knew you. But really, what I have discovered is
that I don't know you at all. You will not be honest - until smacked in the face with proof
of the truth. You don't tell me things willingly, you tell me becuase you knew you were
busted. THat is not TRUST. THat is not HONESTy. HONESTY is telling the truth the first
time, without prompt and without proof. You have not even afforded me that.
I am hurt, my heart aches, my stomach is in knots and I have been nausiated since our
phone call last night. I told you, after that last plea for honesty, that if you lied,
I would hang up. You didn't believe me. But I can't listen to your pity stories any more.
I am 7,000 miles away, in a war zone country where I deal with DEATH everyday. People are
dying. Families are losing their sons, daughters, mothers & fathers. I know, that no
matter how bad life may feel at times - IT Could always be worse.
You are being ungrateful and I cAN'T STOMACH IT ANYMORE. Grandma and Papa deserve better
than that. Aunt Tammy and Uncle Mike deserve better than that and Most of all - I deserve
better than that. I have struggled your whole life to give you a good life. and you
desicrate that by your actions, and your mouth. I love you and I want to talk to you
and have a good relationship with you. I can't do that knowing I can't trust you.
You need to start being honest - let us all see that we can trust you - that is the first
step you need to take. ADmit your wrong doings, move forward and start being honest.
You CANNOT manipulate me anymore. I will not buy what you are selling, becuase I know now,
that I CANNOT trust you. So prove to me that I can. STart being the honest girl that
I know you can be. If you want to be treated like an adult, start acting like one.
You have a good life. You need to face the conseuqeunces of your actions,
start showing by your actions that you can be trusted, focus on goals you have in the future
and start working toward those goals. Enjoy the life that has been afforded to you
and appreciate everything you have and get!
I love you with all my heart and right now my heart aches for you. I am torn between wanting
to hold you and hug you, telling you everything will be okay and then wanting to smack
some reality into you. I hope that this email does that. I hope that you have somethings to
think about and you realize how good you really do have it. I will never stop loving
you - no matter what - but, that doesn't mean I have to like what you are doing. If you
want a relationship with me, you need to earn it. Prove you can be what I know you to be.
I love you. I only want to ensure I put you on the right path to adulthood, and right now,
I am having to detour your track - shift gears and start over. It's simple. Do what is
asked of you, and be honest. The rest is gravy. You will be able to enjoy life and the
ammenities that we provide you. But appreciate them and most importantly, appreciate the
family in your life that try to give that to you - instead of resenting them for wanting to
ensure you are on the right path!
I have heard different stories about how you might run away if you have to go home..
but while you're thinking of that, I want you to think about this...
Is living that kind of life, abandoning your family, throwing away all the love
and the life we offer - worth it? So, you would be on your own, where? A girlfriends
house (until her parents get tired of it, or get arrested for harboring a run away) or
with a boy (who's parents would do the same thing.. and/or the boy would realize he
wasnt ready for that kind of a committment either). You would lose much more than you
would gain. I know at your age, you think freedom is the answer, but realisitically -
you know you have it made at home. YOu have no job, no car, no license and no way
to pay your own way. Think about that next time you think about running away.
Think about what you would be throwing away and how much more you would be hurting
me, and telling me that you don't care about me, or what I give to you. Please just go home,
earn your trust and live the good life that we afford you. Enjoy life as a kid.
I love you.
Always and Forever.
To no end.