Last Sunday, my oldest daughter left home. She was halfway asked to leave, halfway left of her own volition, in a cloud of ugly and strife, lies and accusations. Her belongings fit neatly into her ragtag car, and she drove away with a piece of my soul clinging to her.
Like the day of her birth, 18 1/2 years ago, she was struggling to be brought forth into this life, to the other side. And this is her struggle now. Getting to the other side, being born again and washed clean, and again not without significant pain on my part.
Unlike her freshly newborn self, this world had its chance to leave scars on her heart. The damage we inevitably do to our children was done, right alongside the repair and comfort. While I attempt to look honestly at myself for mistakes I made, I also know that this life with which she was gifted is hers and hers alone.
This is her walk, with her worn out shoes and desires and decisions propelling her forward. She’s grown now into 120 pounds of heart and skin and love and wounds, along with some pretty questionable choices. She was never mine, she was a gift given to the world, and to me.
I stay in prayer that as she journeys, she finds the jewels that have fallen from her crown along the way. I pray she stops and replaces them with the strongest of glue, a smile on her lips. I pray that she learns to treasure her body, and her mind, and the light that shimmers within.
I have about the same amount of assurance that I had on the day she was born that everything will be okay in the end. On that day, long ago, I knew that she and I were in for a struggle, the long haul, and I knew it was going to hurt before it got better.
This is where we are now. My baby girl is made of the bones of her ancestors and we are people who are strong, and don’t go down without a fight. I know that she will claw her way, if she has to, back into the light.
I carried her inside me through long months while she formed, silent and whole. We couldn’t speak then, except through the threads that form between mothers and children, and can never be broken. This is how we speak now.
Just like then, I do not expect this will be easy, this rebirth—the powerful woman that lives in my daughter bursting forth from a dark chrysalis. I cling to my faith that tells me that as it was on the day she first breathed air, I will hold my daughter close after a long and arduous journey, and our hearts will beat in harmony.
Sarah Green is a wife and biological mother of three, adoptive mom to one, and a foster mom currently on hiatus. She enjoys crafting, chaos, and baking. Sarah is currently working on books about the realities of foster care and an anthology focused on homeschooling. Read more about her daily life at tumblewieds.tumblr.com.
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