For 18 years, I have been her everything. Today she went out into this world to become her own everything. Here I am again – 4:30 in the morning, cup of tea, my mind and heart reeling from the day before. I sit here licking my wounds and questioning my decisions. I want to get in that truck and drive over there to check on her but I would be looking for a reason to bring her home , so instead I sit here with my tea. I am not the best thing for my daughter anymore. She needs to be where she can get the services she needs to live as independently as possible. She needs a job, friends, and opportunities.
When I think about all the things I gained from loving this child I feel completely overwhelmed with gratitude. When I think about all the things it cost me, all of us, to love this child, I feel completely overwhelmed. All the time and moments I missed with my other kids caring for a child with Reactive attachment disorder, brain damage, seizures, failure to thrive and a broken heart…., I feel a little sick. I am also humbled at the beautiful attitude of the ” original four” as we call them ,at how much they love her in spite of what it cost them. I am thinking about all the jobs I didn’t get or had to give up, all the school I didn’t finish, all the friends who left us behind because they didn’t understand. All the messes, lost wages, poverty-stricken holidays and tearful exhaustion, all for the love of Amanda. And yet, I know, It’s what I do and who I am. And that just scares me to death. Who am I without her? That is exactly what I am about to find out.
So I am going to begin this journey with gratitude. Wow. That is so not how I thought this post would go. But sitting here thinking about it…. It’s where I am. I am so grateful for what this journey with her has taught me, what it has brought me, who I have become. I am so thankful for the desire in me to become better than I am right now. I am so grateful that the early assessments of her development were wrong and that I was sure she could be more. Thank you, Lord, so much for treatment parents ( I love you Ed and Tammy) who trained me to love her, Insisted I love myself , and later became my best friends. I am so grateful to my mom, who helped me raise her when no one else on this planet would come to my house much less babysit for her so I could work or just breath… take a bath. I am thankful for all people who showed up( T, J, and j) for Manda and me. I am grateful for all the people who told me to give up because I became more determined not to. I am grateful for all the people who taught me how to hang in there and boy am I grateful to my husband who is about the most amazing man ever. Thank you for giving me an opportunity to keep her. Mostly, I am so grateful for the opportunity to be her mom. And Now, I am grateful for the chance for me to become me, although this bitter sweet pill is not going down easy.
Going out into this day to see what kind of wife, daughter, mom, Christian, artist, and over-all goof I can be. I am going to fill my life with color and laughter and hope and music in honor of Amanda. Here is to your dreams and Mine, Manga P. Dubin! I love you so.
And Who knows…. maybe there is another kid out there…
I need chocolate.