Yesterday was my daughter's 42nd birthday. As you may know, she is presently couch surfing with a warrant out for her arrest because she was late for a probation meeting. I've seen her a number of times in the past month or two and each time I've walked away with a vague sense of some kind of change in her, in me, in .........everything. The first time I felt that change my response to her was completely different, I was calm and certain in my boundaries. I had been practicing "presence" and staying rooted in the NOW, which was bringing me a lot of internal peacefulness. She'd completely stopped asking me for anything and she was so appreciative. We had a "normal" conversation, not peppered with intensity, drama or manipulation. The next time I saw her, she didn't know where she was going to be sleeping that night, but she seemed so okay with it and her life that I drove away feeling perfectly fine, in fact peaceful. I smiled a lot. She came for Thanksgiving dinner. She was engaged, sweet, calm and again respectful and appreciative. My girlfriend was with us too and afterwards commented to me that she was amazed at how much my daughter had changed. She said, "she's so pleasant to be around now, I enjoyed being with her." A couple of times throughout the day, I observed my daughter smiling, looking very relaxed and in fact happy. I had not seen that on her face in a very, very long time. All that 'bitterness' she carried seemed to be gone. The anger too. And, the night before my daughter had texted me asking if she could spend the night and I said no. She was here for dinner last night and I had a small worry that she would have no place to go afterwards, but my worries were unfounded, the evening was a very, very nice one. Again, she was calm, engaged and thoughtful. We looked at old photo albums of her childhood. We all had a good time. We drove her back to where she was staying, a nice apartment complex, where a friend of hers lives. She hugged me really tight and thanked me when we dropped her off. On the drive home my husband said, "your daughter has really changed, something is VERY different." We discussed what that could be. We both noticed that she is not self absorbed, that she is able to be inclusive of others; that she is extremely grateful; that she is not dramatic and intense, but calm and peaceful; that she isn't blaming of others but taking responsibility for her actions; that she has "plans" on having her own place and even traveling; that she is concerned about her daughter; that her emotions are right there, not covered up with this hard shell like before, when her Dad called to wish her a happy birthday, she was teary eyed about him and talked to us about it. She laughed easily too. It's as if she had some kind of personality transplant! Both husband and I were pleasantly surprised at what a lovely evening we had. Recently I had been reading about how as people age, the symptoms of mental illness' and other disorders can lesson. Perhaps that has some significance. The therapists I had in that Codependency course I was in always told us that they had seen it happen over and over, that when parents stopped enabling their kids, the kids changed. So, that could be part of it too. Or maybe the threat of losing your freedom at any time forces one into a recognition of the importance of that freedom and all that goes along with that. Or perhaps, she has moved through all the stages of grief about her husbands suicide and come to acceptance. I don't know. What I do know is that something has changed. And for the better. Much better. I never expected a change and in fact had completely let go of that as a possibility, so this is very sweet on so many levels. And, I am also aware of the tentativeness of all of it, that it could all shift into something else or go back to what it was. But, for this moment in time, right now, I am very, very grateful for whatever is happening. Whatever it is. My daughter seems to have joined the human race, to have become a part of the whole, to be able to be present and accountable. She has respected every boundary I set. Our relationship has completely changed. We're still learning how to "be" in this new territory, there are no minefields blowing up or dramatic events occurring............it all feels so calm and peaceful. It's as if she "came back" from whatever dark place she has been inhabiting for so long. Time will tell. It's all new. Life moves ahead and however it is, I am okay. I have learned to weather the storms with her and stay centered and grounded, balanced and present....to accept what is.... and not fight with reality.....which has turned out to be the greatest gift...........and I learned that with her. I felt peaceful in the midst of the storm and I feel peaceful now.........it is so much to be grateful for. It's a very, very good day.