birthday, estrangment

How I Celebrate a Special Birthday Through Estrangement

We’re halfway through the year already. I can’t believe that. Of course, the end of June has had a new meaning to me as of twenty-one years ago.

It was June 25, 1996, that I became a mom for the first time. Yesterday my daughter celebrated her twenty-first birthday without me. You may not think that it’s any big deal — that she is celebrating with her boyfriend or friends or whoever.

But it is a big deal.

The early years

As my daughter was growing up, she and I became close — as close as a mom and daughter could be. I raised her as a single mom from the time she was six years old, and it wasn’t easy.

Her dad and I weren’t on amicable terms so not only did our divorce drag out for sixteen months, but for the thirteen years since the divorce was final, he and I had custody issues. That’s another story for another time.

The birthday celebrations and bonding

Throughout her years of growing up, my daughter and I bonded through our loves of Rick Springfield, scrapbooking, and various TV shows among other things. We celebrated her birthdays at times when I had her.  She celebrated her birthday in some way with friends and separately with family.

She was my concert buddy when we went to see Rick in concert. Of the nine times I’ve seen Rick, she was with me three times and should have been four.

Of course, she doesn’t remember him singing “Happy Birthday” to her when she was three years old at Six Flags in St. Louis, but she certainly remembers when he climbed through the crowd at the Indiana State Fair to see the sign she held up. I will never forget the look on her face when he did that and how excited she was after the concert, wishing we could have met him backstage.

I remember her begging me to take her to see Rick in French Lick in February 2013 and again in July 2014. However, the July show never happened.

Unfortunately, she and I parted ways three years ago today. As you might imagine, I was devastated by her departure. I never in a million years dreamed she would be the child to cut ties with me, not the way we were bonded together.

The estrangement

I can’t say I’m not at fault for her departure. I don’t know what I did to cause it, but I’m sure she has her reasons. No person is perfect. No parent is perfect. We all have flaws. We all make mistakes. I just don’t know what mistake I made. On the other hand, it takes two to make a relationship work. Blame can’t be all on one person. Both parties need to work things out.

Last year I wrote a letter to “Dear Estranged Daughter.” I can only hope she will see it one day and realize how much she means to me.

Life is too short not to have family in your life, especially when your family is small like mine is. It is too short to be estranged over something that could be worked out if you talked things over and came to an understanding.

Sadly, estrangement is becoming an epidemic. I’m not the only parent whose child has cut ties with them. I’m sure you know someone who is estranged from a child. Society is much different than when I was growing up, and family doesn’t mean as much as it used to.

Estranged parents can hope and pray for reconciliation, but that doesn’t always happen. Instead, I can only hope that the parents who are dealing with this can come to some kind of peace within themselves.

If you or someone you know is dealing with estrangement, please feel free to reach out or pass this blog post along.

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