difficult child turns 21 tomorrow

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by dashcat, Jun 26, 2012.

  1. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    And what a long, strange trip it's been.

    As a baby and young child, she was pure delight. Her dad and I were convinced she as a genius, headed for an ivy league college (on a scholarship, of course!) and to a future filled with friends and endless possiblities. She was bright, funny, musically talented and personable. And she still has those qualities, although now they have taken on a very different form.

    For her sixth birthday party, we went to the local Goodwill and bought a bunch of old formals (Saturday was 1/2 price day and we got them for a few dollars each), and six little girls ran around my yard, waving fairly wands, wearing thes comical dresses. I took photos and thought I'd be photographing many of these same girls in real dresses as they went to prom. I still friends from when I was that age, and I assumed she would, too.

    Slowly, things began to change. She resisted doing homework, and the lying (something I thought was a pre-school phase) got worse. As the years went on, the friends dropped off. We moved her to a private school to give her a fresh start and it was .. for a short time. The boy crazies ...there from the very start, got to be out of hand. Around the age of 17-18, I started to realize there was something very, very wrong. By then her dad was gone and he became Uncle Dad, the fun one. To this day, be believes that there is nothing wrong. It's just a phase. By age 19, she was a full blown difficult child. Sometimes I look back at the photos ...from even a few years ealier, and I cannot believe it is the same person.

    I've had to let go of the child she was and love the adult she has become. I do love and accept her, but I worry about how she will function in the real world. I worry about how it feels inside her head and I pray that she can find some peace and reconcilliation.

    For her birthday, I am taking her Ziplining! It seems appropriate somehow. In any case, it should be fun and a bit of an adventure. I'll post details after the fact.
  2. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    What a poignant recap of your daughter's young life. I know firsthand that same trajectory and the worry about them functioning in the real world. It's a path with many mine fields. Ziplining does seem appropriate. I hope you enjoy her birthday and that this coming year brings you both the peace you desire. And, happy birthday to your difficult child.
  3. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Aww dash I feel your pain. I had those hopes for my difficult child also. We do have to love the adult they have become and put away those unrealistic dreams. Letting go of that child is most difficult but you are doing a marvelous job.

    Ziplining is soooo fun. I went with easy child a couple years ago when she was in NC for student teaching and it was one of the best times I've had. We got to take pics of each other and looking back on them brings back a lot of memories. What a special time you have planned for her. by the way do we have ziplining around here?

    Happy Birthday to you difficult child.

  4. compassion

    compassion Member

    Happy bdy to both of you. My daughter was also adopted as an infant. Enjoy the dayl Ziplining is such a cool choice. I really try to enjoy the fun moments and neveer give up HOPE!!! My daughter went to Busch Gardens today, that was huge for her.
  5. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    I wish your daughter a very happy birthday. I hope you both will enjoy the day tomorrow (I give you a lot of credit!) and I'm sure it'll be a very memorable experience. You're a terrific mom.
  6. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    It's been a long road indeed.

    But don't let go of those hopes you once had just yet. difficult children have been known to surprise us both with the good and the bad. When Nichole was in her worse period.......part of me was so sad for the loss of the child I had known before she hit jr high. Sometimes I saw glimpses.....and while it kept me going....it also sort of made it worse. But I had a lot of trouble imagining what her future would be and it terrified me. Today at 23 (she just had her birthday Saturday) she is a great wife, mom.......and back to that girl she was before those dark years, just a more mature version. So you never know.....eventually you may find yourself looking at a more mature version of the little girl you once had.

    I hope you two are able to have a lot of fun on her birthday.

  7. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Wishing her a very happy birthday.
  8. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Happy Birthday to your daughter!

    Well 21 means she is on the upswing toward maturity. Only a couple of years until that frontal lobe finishes growing!

    Hope you have a great time ziplining!
  9. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Happy birthday to your daughter! I read your post nodding my head because so many of us know what you feel when reflecting back on their childhoods.

    She may come around soon - as they finally mature and begin to become more independent, life has its own lessons that somehow help them see things differently. I hope that's the case with your daughter.

    OMG, have a blast zipling! We've done a few times and it is SO MUCH FUN!!!!
  10. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    Thanks, everyone!

    Except for a couple of bumps, her birthday was really very special and lovely.

    Ziplining was a blast. I'm a little sore today but so glad that we did it. We stopped for dinner on the way home at this very cool place and I let her order a glass of wine. We came home, had homemade cheesecake and she opened her gifts .. a few little things and a necklace I had made from one of my dad's cufflinks. It really is beauitufl and I was excited because I had an old necklace of my mom's that neither of us would ever wear and sold it in exchange for the new necklace (with more than a few $ left over!), so I felt like I got a real deal. She really loves it. She's been very careless with things like this in the past, but I thought I'd give it one more chance. The actual $ spent, even if you don't consider the trade, wasn't very much and it's not like it is an irreplaceable heirloom piece of my mom's.

    Mr. Ostrich then came over to take her out to get a drink. They left here at 9:30 and I heard her come back around mindnight. She sounded pretty drunk. This is the fundamental difference between Mr. O and myself. I think a glass of wine at dinner on a 21st birthday is ok. Going bar hopping with dad? Not such a agood idea. I wish he'd jst taken her out for a nice dinner on another night or joined us (which was possible) for our dinner. Oh well, out of my hands.

    She talked a lot over the course of the day about how she can't wait to go barhopping with friends and all. I'm trying to keep my perppective on what is typical for this age and what is difficult child. Hoping against hope this won't become an issue.

    Thanks for the good wishes.
  11. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Dash it sounds like a lovely day. Your gift was perfect, you really know how to make things special. I agree the wine with dinner was the much more mature thing to do and getting drunk with dad a bit over the top. As far as her comments about barhopping with friends, I think this is why there is no way my difficult child will get sober anytime soon. She waited her entire life for this chance....errrr I mean she waited her entire life to legally get this chance. She's not about to give it up until she experiences the fun of barhopping and put-in-bay and all the other things the young people do to get crazy. I am patiently waiting for that to wear thin and reality to set in but it won't come really soon.

  12. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    We'll be waiting for that other shoe to drop together. I dread this weekend and I know just what you mean about how they feel they have to experience this.
  13. LSH44

    LSH44 New Member

    Your reference to seeing your daughter heading to an Ivy League college at one time, made me think of something funny that a friend of mine once said. She had two twins - a son and a daughter. The daughter was a jewel - girly, sweet, smart. The son was a handful. Boisterous, conniving, and a real smart-aleck. We were talking about college one day and she said she had no doubt her children would graduate...but that her daughter would end up graduating from Princeton...and her son would end up graduating from San Quentin.

    Funny...but not funny, eh? You can't get through life without humor.