Well, yesterday I went over to see my difficult child's new place. There was a part of me that didn't want to see it, because once seen, then I would have to think about that in the long night bumming out that she is in an unsafe "dump." My SO said what he always says, which makes me laugh, "gird your loins!" So, I girded my loins and bit the bullet and went. OK, so I had to remember that her two roommates are young (30ish) guys. And, having 3 brothers I am aware of how guys live, so I had to take that into account. Dishes in the sink, a vacuum likely hadn't graced the floors in awhile, a huge back yard which needed some serious work, but OMG, it's a fairly nice place! She has the back room which looks like it was once a porch, lots of windows, a sliding glass door leading to a wooden deck with the potential of a fantastic garden right outside her door. Her own entrance, and it's very large too. And, all for $300 a month. Are you kidding me? This is a find! And, she found it on her own! I hung out for awhile, something I SERIOUSLY am not used to doing, I usually split pretty quick out of her life because I can't take the drama or the surroundings. But, it was a spring day, the sun is shining, she looks beautiful and we are just chatting about curtains, rugs, all the creative things she could do with this really interesting and unique space. As you may remember me saying, my daughter's husband committed suicide in 2000 and that was the beginning of the downward spiral. She subsequently lost her job, then her home, her two step daughters were taken away by the other grandmother and I got permanent guardianship of my granddaughter. Along the way she lost more too, friends, most of her belongings, etc. She made some seriously horrible choices and acted badly A LOT. Then came the jail time in January of this year and her staying with me for a few weeks and me having to step up to the plate with my new found detachment armor and setting some pretty distinct boundaries...... and then ultimately asking her to leave. Then, as you may recall, I left town for 2 weeks, leaving her homeless and living in her car with her 4 cats, the most challenging thing I've ever had to do as far as parenting is concerned. In anther post today I read someone make the comment about detachment being devastating, and I can say, from the depth of my being, 'devastation' is an understatement as to the pain in ones heart. However, while away, I think it all shifted (doing a happy dance here) and yesterday, there she is, looking like my daughter, the one I had to let go of so long ago, the pretty, funny, smart, healthy person she was long ago. Not to say, she isn't intense, and her own, unique self, but I had a (dare I say??) normal conversation in a normal way and it was NICE! I had been thinking about helping her pay for her storage unit to get what she has left of her belongings out. Yesterday, she was exhibiting the behavior of someone who is making attempts to start a new life. She was also having what I would consider "healthy" responses to external issues. I know how upset she's been to not be able to pay for the unit and it's been locked until payment is made so she couldn't access her belongings. I told her I would pay for it. We're meeting the guy today and she will gain access to the unit and be able to move her stuff into her new place. If what my therapist has been telling me about the difference between loving kindness and enabling is that with loving kindness you feel good and with enabling you feel bad, is right, then all the good feelings I got from saying I would help her, is more credence to that theory. It just feels really good. My difficult child is helping herself, and helping her to get her life back on some track, feels like the thing you would easily do for a easy child. And, another significant difference is that I don't feel resentment, I feel enthusiastic. I can't remember the last time I was with my difficult child when we just talked easily, (without drama) and I actually enjoyed myself and had no problem staying. She showed me material she is using for the windows, talked about stuff she has in storage which she can use to beautify her new place, she had a sense of pride in herself and I haven't seen that in so long. As I write this, there are tears in my eyes because I am so optimistic (although cautiously!) for her to start ANY kind of life where she feels good. I have always envied all the moms who got to share all those intimate moments and wonderful life adventures, like going away looking at colleges, baby showers, hanging out together, special times only mothers and daughter's share. My daughter's intensity, drama and the HUGE wedge between us, (my angers and resentments of her not fulfilling what my dreams were for her, and her angers and resentments at me for not seeing her underneath my dreams for her), kept us WORLDS apart. In addition, of course, to the bad choices she made which had a negative impact on me and everyone around her. The last 3 months have certainly been tough, no doubt about that, maybe 3 of the toughest months I've ever had. We went through so much, she and I, and I think, we came out the other side, just simply accepting each other. She is who she is. Is she who I thought she SHOULD be? No. I had to let that one go. She is herself. She will have to work out the rather large cavern between she and her daughter. But, that is their issue, not mine. I guess I've learned to love her the way she is. And, maybe she has done that with me too. Two strong women trying to find a bridge to stand on where the raging waters beneath don't drown them. I am hoping to be a part of her life now. Different then before, just try to enjoy her and what she tells me is important to her. It may be premature, but I do believe she is on a different path. However, whatever path she is on, I am only a visitor, I am not a cop standing in the middle directing it, like I used to think I HAD to do. I'm on the sidelines feeling pretty good. For the first time in about 12 years. Sigh. And, for those of you who responded to my post about my "empty" feeling, thank you. I am feeling much better. It is a phase in all of this, and truly it is odd, but I do see light at the end of the tunnel. All that space inside me which has been preoccupied with the care of others, mostly children, for my entire life, is now empty. Yikes. A good yikes though, a new beginning for me too.