I’ve been going through one of the hardest break-ups of my life, recently, and it isn’t even my own. It would be so much more bearable if it WAS, I think, because at least then I could be an active participant, rather than this spectator on the sidelines, watching helplessly as my beautiful daughter finds her way through this age old struggle. Everyone goes through it. Everyone one of us has loved and lost. It’s just part of life, I KNOW that…but what I didn’t know was how devastating it would be to watch your child go through it. Another thing I wasn’t prepared for was my own feeling of loss- I’m not sure if I should count myself as lucky or not that I really, sincerely LOVED my daughter’s ex. We ALL loved him. My MOTHER loved him, for Pete’s sake, and she has rarely been able to muster a crumb of enthusiasm for any guy I’ve ever dated. That ought to tell you something.
Josh wandered into my life about a year ago. I believe he wandered into my daughters life a little before that…according to her, she wanted to make sure they were really “together-together” before she introduced him to me. When I finally did meet him, I was prepared to despise him. I wanted to- I even tried to- stay ambivalent, keep him at arms length. But he was so damn personable! He didn’t mind talking to me, even though I was technically the enemy, as the mother of the girl he was making out with all the time. I’m not going to lie, that part made me want to puke, and I tried to pretend they were like characters from a Disney movie, sweet and chaste. But I’m not completely stupid. I just wound up liking him in spite of all that.
I liked him because he sang along to “Bennie and the Jets” with us the first time I gave him a ride in my car. I liked him because he went with us to the pumpkin patch in October, and he wanted to know if he could pick out a pumpkin, too. I liked him because he was sweet to my two year old. I liked that he brought out the happy kid inside my surly teenage daughter, and I got to see her play again. I liked that he walked my dog for me, and helped with the dishes, and even took out the garbage for me from time to time. I loved that he looked out for my daughter- he had his dad drop him off at my house every morning at six thirty so that he could walk her to school, even though he didn’t have to be at school himself until nine. One time, when they were fighting, my daughter locked him out of the house. When I went to let him in, I heard him start to say something to her, then he sighed, and said “I just can’t be mean to you.”
I guess I knew that they would break up. I mean, they are KIDS, really, really, young kids…the odds of them staying together were super slim. But it does happen from time to time, right? The thing is, I SAW them together. I saw the way they laughed, and the way they treated each other with such tenderness, and I don’t care how old you are, love is love. Those two REALLY loved each other. They would fight, and break up, then the next day it was like nothing happened. I stopped paying attention.
But the last time they broke up, it stuck. Josh went off the grid. They had a pretty serious situation, and I guess he was just done. That happens, doesn’t it? You get used to someone putting up with something, and then, one day, they just won’t anymore. I know I’ve certainly stood where my daughter found herself standing. It HURTS. And it damn near killed me to watch. I’m not going to lie, I stepped over the line, and I tried to reach out to him, myself- he had just disappeared, and I was worried. I realize now there was probably more to the story that I didn’t know…but this boy was like a kid to me by the end, and he practically lived at my house. He didn’t want to talk to me, either. He just said he was too hurt, and he didn’t want to ever feel the way he felt, ever again. I had to leave it be.
Aisley has had her good days and her bad over the last month or so. She is learning all about the void left behind when someone you love is no longer there. She is learning all about the old cliche “Don’t know what you got until it’s gone.”. She is learning what it is like to have to really look at your behavior and not like what you see. I am not saying this is all her fault, don’t get me wrong. I am just saying she is going through what everyone of us goes through when a relationship ends before we want it to. And it is HARD, HARD, HARD for me to see. I know there is nothing I can do.
Josh came by for a second yesterday to pick up something of his. Aisley made me promise to stay inside so that she could talk to him. Of course, I agreed. Of course, I totally reneged, and had to poke my head out. He smiled and ran up to give me a hug. He came in real quick to say hi to the baby (who was not ready to be nice to him, I guess. She misses him, too.). I left them alone after that. In just a few minutes, Aisley was back inside. I asked if she was okay, she said she was. She said “I actually feel a lot better, mom.” Which made me happy.
I guess now I’ll have to start getting over it, too.