Monday, August 22, 2011

Will my nest be half empty soon?

The contractions started just after midnight. I was already three weeks late so I’d been eager to just “have this baby already!” But the pain was unlike anything I’d ever felt. Then a wave of panic hit me like a brick. Suddenly, it became harder and harder to breathe. I guess this is what they teach you in Lamaze. Too bad I blew off the class…

Last week, my baby, now in her early 20s, made it hard for me to breathe yet again. There were no contractions, just an aching mommy heart.

She says she’s in love and is somewhat engaged. I say "somewhat in engaged” because she and her boyfriend do not believe in marriage (don’t blame them) and neither want kids (whew!), but he gave her a ring. She said something about the ring representing his commitment, but I have to admit I got a little light-headed at this point. But nothing could have prepared me for what she said next…

"He’s asked me to move in with him."

I can’t breathe! The room is spinning, my heart is pounding and I can’t breathe!

I can’t let her know that I’m freaking out inside. I can’t ask her to bring me a paper bag while I hyperventilate. I can’t crawl under my desk, cover my ears, chant, "La la la la la la," and pretend like this conversation never happened.

I played it cool. Thanks to my boy Deepak and the meditation I've been doing over the last several months, I was able to get my breathing in check and remain calm. Fast forward 24 hours and I'm freaking the hell out. I can't focus. I can’t breathe. My heart is pounding. 

I want to call my mom, aunts, cousins, sisters-in-law, friends, mailman -- anyone who will listen, really -- and freak out all over them with this news. But I don't. I don't because this is a sacred conversation that took place between a mother and her daughter. And daughter hasn't made a decision. And mother is still freaking out.

*Disclaimer: Daughter has since talked to my mom about this which lessens the sacredness and allows me the clear conscience to write about this now.

I wanted to scream, "Don't do it! Don't go! Don't leave me!" but that would only send her packing. Instead, I listened. I asked questions. I presented her with various "living together" scenarios. I gave her a lot to think about.  

Is she ready to handle a household? Can she cook? Can she clean? Rephrasing… Is she willing to clean? Rephrasing again… Is she willing to clean up after him? 

Is she ready and willing to answer to another person? Can she compromise?

Those of us who have been around the block know that moving in together ain’t all fun and games. Eventually, the romance and newness wear off just like a new toy.

A funny moment (hilarious, actually) in all of this came when she asked if I would continue to pay her car note and insurance if she moved in with him. Excuse me while I compose myself…  Bahahahahaha!

I explained that moving in with him means "her bills” become “his bills” or "their bills.”

Speaking of bills, I asked if he was willing to pay her bills until she finished school. And who would pay what once she got a job?

Who pays the rent? Who pays the electricity? Who pays for groceries? Who GOES to the store to GET the groceries?

Of my two kids, she’s witnessed and endured the most during the tumultuous years of my marriage. If you ask me (and her), she’s still messed up over it. Do I want to keep her from true love? Absolutely not! But she still has a lot of healing to do…

We’ve been in our new life for just over a year, and I feel like I just got her back. My baby, my first born… ready or not, she may be leaving my nest soon.

I can’t breathe… 

My baby...


  1. Oh.My.God I would've freaked out too!!! Totally!! (I'm not helping here, am I? Sorry....).

    I think you handled it very well, actually. You were wise to explain to her the 'reality' of what living together means. And I definitely agree with your policy: he wants her to move in with him, he's gotta shoulder all the responsibilities that come with it also!

    So are we going to hear about what's her final decision going to be? My daughter's only seven and already I'm dreading the day that she would leave for college! I'm definitely at a loss here! But I commend you for having acted and done as you had! Oh goodness... at times like that, we *really* feel like a mom, huh?

  2. I could not wait to move out when I graduated from high school. That being said I never wanted to live with a boyfriend. I wanted my freedom even while being in relationships. My mother called me every day those first weeks which I thought was nuts.

    I am preparing for my daughter to move away as soon as she turns 18 or stay until when ever whatever she wants to do. She is committed to going to college.

    She also is committed to saving herself. She does not want to have her heart broken or become a mom before she is ready.

    I meet all the boyfriends and like my mother I pray. So far they have been decent. Her dad and I have a sordid past which she knows all about. She's seen relationships done wrong. Her step sisters have kids now and irresponsible boyfriends.

    Next I have to talk to her about taking a potential partner to a counselor to let someone with insight speak over and into the relationship.

    I hope her faith really takes off before too much longer and then she can pray for herself. I know God has an amazing husband for her out there. One who will match her needs as a girl born into a broken home who's heart has always longed for her father to be the man he should have been.

    We need to expect BIG things from the Lord not just whatever happens to find us.

  3. I agree with SingleMamma - your daughter seems to have a good head on her shoulders and she has you to thank for that!

    I can't imagine how you must be feeling - it MUST be frightening, but it sounds to me that you can have faith in the knowledge you've given her, what she has learned from your experiences and her own instincts.

    I'd also agree that it's important to talk to her about the idea of counseling - remove the stigma. It's not a tool to be used only once something has gone wrong, but one that can teach a young (or any!) couple healthy communication skills.

    And most importantly, I'd stress to her that there's no shame in asking for help if she finds she needs it.

    I think you'll both do great, but I completely understand the freak-out. She's your baby! You're entitled :).

  4. Let her get out there and do her thing. She needs to learn reality and this may be the best way to do it. Of course, my answer may change when it's my daughter...

  5. Maybe tell her to read this:

    And then have her read this (so she realizes how important it is for regular communication about all sorts of logistics - preferably writing things down and agreeing to them!)

    (No kidding.)

    And I think you did great, too...

  6. I'm an old lady now, but have made similar pronouncements to my mom, oh, two or three or four times over the last decades - and until now I didn't/haven't spend much time considering her reaction. Thank you for giving me that! (And your daughter either does or will appreciate your outwardly-appearing cool head!)

  7. O.M.G.

    I would have freaked out too. Just imagining my soon-to-be-10-year-old telling me this in 10+ years made me nauseous. If only we could give them all that we've learned since we were in our early 20's!!!!

    Wow... so much to think about but so awesome that she feels comfortable enough to talk to you about it. Just continue to listen and support. Hold her hand. She'll be fine.

    ((HUGS)) to you!!!!

  8. Thank you so much for your comments. Although I'm still freaking out, I'm very grateful that she sat down and talked to me about this instead of "announcing" her decision. As of now, she hasn't made her decision but she's changed her status to "Engaged" on Facebook. If you need me, I'll be in the corner hyperventilating into a paper bag...