with Karli Larson
The transition from stay-at-home mom to divorced-and-working-full-time mom can be challenging, and sometimes very lonely. Throw in a few cats, an ancient dog and one very brave boyfriend, and life gets downright crazy. Join me as I talk through my thoughts and struggles, my miscalculations and my triumphs. We're in this together, you and I.
When I'm not writing here you can find me over at work on the TisBest Philanthropy blog.
I like to think it was a pretty good run, overall. God knows there will be plenty more silent treatments to come, anyway. The teen years are rapidly approaching.
I felt awful that I’d let her down. Still do. Neither her father nor I could make it to her school talent show this year. In our defense, it was on a Wednesday morning, at 11, and plenty of other parents couldn’t make it either.
It feels worse, somehow, to be the single parent who screws up.
She’d acted nonchalant about the show, originally. She said she wasn’t doing a solo, just an act with a friend. Turns out she was acting nonchalant as part of a surprise she was planning for me: an Adele song, solo, and a capella.
My mother was the one to tell her that my plans had changed since my daughter had shifted to her dad’s for the week. My mom told her it sounded like I needed to go out of town and probably wouldn’t be there.
My daughter beat me to the punch, called me before I phoned her to tell her myself. “YOU PROMISED,” she said, before hanging up.
I had, when she had originally told me it was happening on another date. When she had told me the date had been changed, I could feel my stomach sink, not sure that I could make it after all.
I should have said right then that I wasn’t sure I could extend the same promise to that date. I thought maybe I could work it out. But I couldn’t. I had to go out of town.
After she hung up on me, I emailed her at her dad’s, knowing she’d read an email rather than talk. I tried to explain that sometimes, I had to make choices that were going to be good for our little family in the long term, at the expense of the short term. I told her this trip was something I needed to do, and that I’d make it up to her in the future, knowing full well that none of my words would make much of a difference.
I let her down. I’m going to let her down again. And again. I hate that that’s part of the deal, this mother-daughter relationship. You can try your best, do your best, for ten years straight, and the one missed show is what she will remember.
I’m back home, and she’s back home with me. “Do you forgive me?” I ask. “I watched the video that Babci took. You were wonderful.”
She looks wary. “I forgive you.”
“Are you only kind of speaking to me?”
“Kind of,” she says, smiling.
“I’m going to screw up sometimes. I wish I weren’t, but I am.”
“I know,” she says.
“Am I allowed to hug you?”
She smiles, nods, relents.
Ten years, ten months. I’m hoping I can go that long again before I disappoint her this much.
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