On April 30th was my first blogaversary. I had been thinking about how I wanted to celebrate, perhaps publish a year review or invite other bloggers to contribute. I had not marked the date in my iPhone as I was sure I would remember that day. Yet I forgot all about it. Why, you may ask? Because on April 30th, First Daughter announced that she wanted to go back to Switzerland to live with her father. And my world collapsed.

We had had this discussion a couple of months earlier. Of course I had noticed that she had not been very happy and we had talked regularly about it. I thought this was not surprising. After all, she had gone through a lot: First her beloved Grandpa’s sudden death, then all the problems in her parents’ marriage leading to a separation and followed by a divorce. The decision to move to Germany after I met the man who would become Sexy Hubby as I was faced with tough choices and truly believed this was the best option. First Daughter is a thoughtful, caring person who finds it difficult to talk about her emotions. I often feel helpless, as I do not know how to reach out to her and see my admittedly sometimes clumsy attempts rejected. She has also reached the teenage years and we have regular clashes, which is to be expected. So when she mentioned her idea of moving back to Switzerland with her Dad, we discussed it and she was asked to consider all aspects carefully. She then went off on holiday to Rome with my mother to visit my brother. As soon as she came back, she announced that she had thought about it all and wanted to stay in Germany. I felt intensively relieved.

Before Easter I had the feeling that we had become closer. She was most of the time lovely, chatty and helpful, and I thought the fact that I had asked her for forgiveness for all the times I had hurt her had been an important step for both of us. So when she and her sister left to go and stay with their Dad for the holiday, I did not suspect for one second that she would drop this bombshell on her return. The very day of her return, in fact.

Since then, I have been hurting like hell. I know that your children do not belong to you and that you have to let them go. I have never been a “mother hen” particularly and always encourage my girls to think for themselves, make their own experiences and to be independent. But still. I am so not ready to see her go. She has said she hates it here, hates me and the fact that I made the decision to come to Germany. I know all of this is not true and that she has to say these things in order to support this massive step she is taking. She has also used the argument that she wants to develop her relationship with her Dad, and this, I believe to be the truth. Her father is much older than me and I know that she is concerned about him. The fact that he has now reached the age my father was when he died does not help and I suspect that in her mind, the two facts are entwined. First Daughter and my ex-husband are very much alike from a character point of view and perhaps it will be better and easier for her to spend the rest of her teenage phase with him. However, I know that she will miss her little sister like crazy, and vice and versa. I have not told Second Daughter yet, I have no doubt she will be devastated and I am dreading this moment. They will see each other one weekend a month and during the school holidays, as opposed to spending all their time together like now.

Ever since that fateful day, I have had flashbacks of my daughter growing up. What a happy, bubbly little girl she was before her own world collapsed too. I went to the gym the other day and “Let the sunshine in” was playing. I remembered dancing with her as a baby on that song and how much she loved it. Things like this. I also think about the little and big milestones I will now miss and every time, my heart breaks a bit more. There have been a lot of tears, days when I have done nothing but feel my pain, wine, chocolate, and a lot of exercise, which is for me a new way of coping. I am however lucky to have the unconditional support of Sexy Hubby, my sister – I have yet to tell my Mum – and my wonderful friends. You will know who you are, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I hesitated a long time before writing this post, as it is quite different from my usual offerings and very personal. In the end, I decided that it would help me to come to terms with this change and start the healing process. I know that First Daughter is subscribed to my blog and therefore will read this post. I hope she will not be angry with me for sharing my pain in that way and that it will help her understand my feelings better. Sometimes it is not easy to talk. I have told her also that the door will never be closed should she want to come back, that this will not change the love I have for her and to not feel guilty. We all find ourselves at a crossroad at some point and we should follow our heart and our instinct. That is what my daughter is doing and despite how difficult it is, it does make me proud of her.

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28 thoughts on “I Am Not Ready”

  1. Your pain is dripping through this post. I really feel for you. Our children are much younger and we joke about the ‘letting go’ phase (in that ‘Can’t wait’ kind of way) but your words have really made me look at my kids and think that I have to stop and take stock of what we have in the here and now. I left home at 16 and it was only when I was in my 30s that my mother confessed to me that she found it heartbreaking. I don’t know what to say that could offer any words of comfort. I’m glad I’ve commented though.

    1. Thank you so much for this beautiful comment, empathy does help. I used to make the same jokes as you and was totally unprepared for this to happen now. 🙁

  2. It must be incredibly painful for you to be going through this. I understand your concern and I commend you for your attitude of realising there comes a time when we have to let go. But it doesn’t make it any easier. My guess is your daughter is rebelling, perhaps against you and perhaps against her father. There is the issue of the grass is always greener, but I suspect she will realise that it is exactly the same colour on the other side. The teenage years are immensely difficult for families but we have to give our children space to explore their own minds, determine what they really want. You will miss her terribly but I imagine, once she’s been there a few weeks and the novelty begins to wear off, she will miss you just as much.

    Your wonderful ability to love and nurture your children shines through in what you write here and I’m sure, should your daughter read this, she will realise for herself.

    CJ xx

    1. Thank you, CJ, for taking the time to write this and for these profound words, also for saying that my ability to love and nurture them is apparent. It is important for her to make this experience, she is trying to find her way, but I find it a bit too soon… xx

    1. Désolée… Ai écrit cela d’une traite, les mots jaillissaient sans effort. T’embrasse en retour. xx

      1. Faut pas. C’était très beau et très touchant ! J’ai été ému dans le bon sens du terme.

  3. Oh I ache for you, dear friend. I don’t know what to say to help or advise as this is such a personal thing for you and your family. You have written about your pain with such emotion: your daughter reading this will hopefully realise she is loved by both parents who both want the best for her.

    1. Thank you so much, Trish, your support is greatly appreciated. My daughter has not read it yet, we will see how she reacts but I hope she will understand it was written with love and not meant to make her feel guilty. xx

  4. “Arrange whatever pieces come your way.”
    — Virginia Woolf
    These are though pieces to arrange for you I know, but I am here for you, and so are your friends from what I can see. Love you lots!

    1. And I love you, my dear sister! Your unfailing support and presence mean the world to me. Love your Virginia Woolf quote too. xx

  5. My step son never wanted to live with us but unfortunately his mother didn’t want him, he fought, he argued, he ran away…..at the time we decided to move, only 40 miles away, he had some contact with her, he told lies, everything he could think of to get his mum to fight for him and to prove her love. This got very nasty and when she started court proceedings to have him, we had no choice but to agree to it, he was then banned contact from seeing us. This was after 3yrs of her absence. We gave it 6 months before he returned home and 5months and 3 weeks later she dropped him off on our doorstep with his bags, he was 14. I know our situation is completely different, but he made his own decisions in the end. Now aged 21 he is still craving his mothers love but he worked out for himself that the grass is the same colour on both sides of the fence. I wish you well.

    1. Thank you for sharing and for taking the time to comment, Suzanne. At least in our case my daughter knows her Dad loves her, but I suspect she will come to the same conclusion regarding the colour on both sides of the fence.

  6. Oh honey I’m so sorry to read about your pain. I wish I had some words of comfort but I’m not good at that. Just remember, you aren’t losing her, she’s just choosing to live somewhere else. She will always be your daughter.

    Big hugs xx


    1. Thanks so much, Paula, you are good at it, taking the time to reply is already comforting and a help. I do try to keep in mind that she will not be gone forever but the change is massive, she has always been with me since she was born. Big hugs back xx

  7. Yes nothing wrong with your eyes, I am First Daughter. This is going to be a shock. I just wanted to thank you all of you for supporting my mum. I want her to know that what ever happens I will always love her and I’m sorry for all the horrible things I said to her.
    Big hugs to my favourite female person in the world!!!!

    1. Thank you, darling, this is a beautiful comment and I am very proud of you. I love you too!

  8. You have brought your daughter up well. She is obviously tremendously proud to be able to call you her mum. And it goes without saying that you will most likely be proud of her maturity in the comment above.

    CJ xx

    1. Thanks so much for commenting again, I really, really appreciate it. Yes, I am very proud of her! xx

  9. Sounds to me FW, that you have one heck of a daughter. One HECK.
    She strikes me as a little bird whose wings cannot be clipped but who will always come back because she has a loving and wonderful nest to call home.
    I cannot even imagine what it will feel like when my girl leaves home. Just cannot imagine. But if she’s half the young lady your daughter sounds then I will at least be confident in the knowledge that I’ve sent her off into the big wide world with love in her heart.
    Big big love you to all
    T x

    1. What a beautiful comment, Tara… Thanks so much, I am welling up again now! xx

  10. What a beautiful & thought provoking post.

    It is lovely to see that you are being a wonderfully supportive Mum and putting the needs of your Daughter before your own. It would be so easy to argue with your Daughter exclaiming “I don’t want you to go” whereas you are supporting her in her decisions.

    I am separated from the father of 2 of my children & our arrangements have always been that the child will live where THEY want to live, but that both places are home for them & they are welcome in both.
    I would however be heartbroken if my children decided to live with their Dad but like you I would support them in their decision – letting them know that they were always welcome back home, after all this is their life.

    I wish you all luck & hope that the decisions made are the right ones.

    1. Thanks for your lovely comment, Alli, and for sharing. It is not easy to support her decision, but I do not want her to be unhappy and she has to at least try this. I wish you luck too. xx

  11. Oh boy, I feel your pain. Maybe she’s just lashing out. Maybe she even needs to try it – the grass isn’t always greener….. I can hardly imagine how I’d feel if my son said he’d rather be with his dad. Helpless? Be strong and calm. And thanks so much for sharing on the DIVORCE linky this week. You are NOT alone, I’m sure. Helen

    1. Thanks for your lovely comment, Helen. It turned out OK in the end, but it was a very tough time…

  12. Là, dear, je fais une ballade sur ton blog: il y a toujours de bonnes et belles choses à découvrir et quand tu me manques, je te retrouve avec joie ici.
    Today, quoique très tardivement par rapport aux évènements vécus dont nous avions parlé en son temps, je lis et découvre plus amplement ton ressenti, ta démarche, ton cheminement de mère avec First daughter… ainsi que le sien. Je trouve que vos filles ont de la chance: elles ont toujours droit de choix, avec connaissance de ce que cela va impliquer aussi. C’est cela l’amour parental: c’est une bonne manière aussi de dire tu fais ta vie, ce sont tes choix qui feront ta qualité de vie et c’est une bonne chose que tu vives les expériences qui te forgent une idée concrète de la vie au quotidien. Tout cela en gardant un regard, celui du cœur aussi, ouvert et présent à ce qui se passe.
    Pour n’avoir eu que le choix de quitter ma famille/mes parents (qui se disputaient constamment, ne voulaient pas se séparer pour des raisons religieuses mais se tapaient dessus presque tous les jours car l’alcool les rendaient très agressifs et violents), pour survivre et ne rien leur devoir désormais, juste vivre autonome et dans une paix relative, à 16 ans et demi, je peux te dire que vous êtes de bons parents et que vous faites bien votre job d’éducateurs aussi pour vos enfants. Il n’y a pas d’école pour apprendre à être un bon père ou une bonne mère, mais avoir l’esprit et le cœur ouverts et l’envie, pour l’amour de votre enfant, d’apprendre au mieux chaque jour, c’est un bon chemin d’amour que vous lui apportez, un bel exemple de vie également. C’est un bel exemple d’évolution positive pour tous.
    Je vous embrasse tout trois, First daughter, son père et toi pour ce chemin de solidarité fait de part et d’autre pour la meilleure raison qui puisse exister, par amour pour votre enfant. Bonne continuation à vous tous, y compris Second Daughter et ton compagnon.

    1. Merci pour ton commentaire plein de chaleur et ton partage. Les choses ont tellement évoluées depuis cet épisode douloureux, je n’aurais jamais cru à l’époque que ce serait possible…
      Gros bisous. xx

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