Sunday, December 21, 2008

Miracles happen....hold on

Below I'm re posting an entry from my old AOL journal from Christmas 2005. I wasn't sure if I should do this or not, but I've decided that there may be someone somewhere that needs some hope. If someone had told me in 2005 that in 2008 this situation could be so different, I probably would not have believed them. In fact, I know I wouldn't have. Let me give you a little background:

Our middle daughter, Emily is one of the most independent, spunky, smart, determined, and goal-oriented people I've ever known in my life. (I think I just said that very thing in a recent post, but, hey, it's true!). She was seeing a boy while she was in high school that we were unaware of. Looking back on it later, we should have realized she was seeing someone on the sly because there was no boyfriend in the picture and she was a very happy teenage girl. Anyway, right before Austin was born we discovered she was seeing this boy/man. By then she was 17 years old and had been seeing him for two years. The reason she hid this from us was because he was five years older than her. So, when she was 17, he was 22. Granted, she was a very mature 17 year old, she was always older than her years, but her father just simply would not allow it. My opinion at the time was that it was too late to shut the barn door after the cows were already out. Her Dad, however, could not and would not have it. Sooo, he drew the line in the sand and forbid her to see him. I told him that she was going to sneak and see him anyway and reminded him that she would be 18 on her next birthday and we would end up losing her if he insisted on standing firm on this. He wouldn't budge and of course when she turned 18 she moved out and continued to see him. They moved to Florida. She finished college (she has her bachelor's degree in Accounting and is now studying for her CMA). Remember how I said she was goal oriented and determined? She did this entirely on her own, while working full time and supporting herself. I should interject here that it was not only the age difference that was the problem with the boyfriend. We had heard from several people who knew his family that he had some mental issues. He had been abused as a child and had problems getting along with people.

They lived in Florida for several years and got married in April two years ago. We were not invited.

Four years ago I was determined to do whatever was necessary to repair our relationship with her. I begged her to bring him and come home for Christmas. I sat everyone here down and told them that we were going to accept him and learn to love him. I went on and on about how it didn't matter what we thought or felt about him, that Emily had chosen him and that if we wanted to have her in our life then we were just going to have to accept him. I thought about the kind of childhood he'd had and was determined to make him feel loved and accepted. I went Christmas shopping for him with love in my heart. I was so excited when they came! He didn't want to come and it was obvious from the moment they walked in the door. I have to hand it to my gang though, even my husband, everyone welcomed him with hugs and smiles and as far as we were concerned the hatchet was buried (there were many things that happened in the previous years that didn't help his case around here). He walked in the door with a chip on his shoulder and it was obvious that he wasn't going to play nice. We were nice to him. In fact, we were very nice to him. Long story short, on Christmas night, with family all around, he jumped up and began calling us all very ugly names and informed Emily that they were "getting out of here". She had been a nervous wreck the entire 4 days that they'd been here and was not at all the same girl that had moved to Florida. They jumped up, grabbed their coats and their dog and out the door they went with him spewing vile names and filthy language the whole time. It was simply the absolute worst day of my entire life and it felt like my heart had been ripped out of my chest. I didn't think I would ever be able to smile again. My daughter had just left my house with a crazy man and all of their Christmas presents were left in a heap mocking me. The next 3 1/2 years were horrible. There was a huge hole in our lives. The estrangement was so very painful and I could see no way that it could ever be healed. I wrote countless letters and tried to stay in contact but it felt like I was talking to a stranger. I prayed daily for a resolution and my heart was filled with hate for "him". You know what they say about will eat you up and I was one miserable person.

Here is my journal entry from three years ago this Christmas:

The tree is up and decorated. The ingredients for the annual cookie bake are bought . I've made a dent in the Christmas shopping. I have "Believe" signs all over the house. I've played my favorite Christmas music for a week. We've had the annual viewing of PRANCER (one of my all time favorite Christmas movies.) We've watched POLAR EXPRESS and read Christmas stories. I've worn Christmas sweaters and Christmas scrubs. I've opened several Christmas cards already. I'm trying. I'm really trying to get myself in the right frame of mind for Christmas. I'm not doing so well at it though.
I have always loved Christmas. I've loved everything about it, even down to the mind numbing stress of it all. But this year, I just wish we could skip the whole extravaganza.

Last year was the worst Christmas I've ever spent in my entire life. A Grinch was in my house last year and I do mean a real live Grinch. He managed to ruin my most favorite day of the year, and many hours of every day since then. His behavior was so horrid that it overshadowed every sweet and good thing that the day has always represented to me. He left our home , taking with him one of the people I treasure most in this world, my daughter. It doesn't seem possible to me that a whole year has passed. It feels like it was yesterday. The feelings are just as raw and exposed today as they were then. I've done everything I know to do to undo the damage he has done to my family. It has all been for naught. He ended up getting exactly what he wanted., and is perfectly happy with the carnage he has left in his wake. I harbor feelings for this person that no one should have towards anyone. It has poisoned me. It has done something to my heart that I can't find a way to repair. And it hangs over my Christmas like an anvil.

Children grow up. It's a wonderful thing. I've often commented to people how cool it is to have adult children. I enjoy my adult children so much. We never stop being parents, but it's so nice when you realize that you've raised these neat people and they finally become your friends. I enjoy my daughter, Sarah Kate and son, Patrick. They make me smile all the time. I love them fiercely and know that they love me. They try so hard to make up for the heartache of last Christmas, a heartache that they've suffered as well and had no part in causing. One child cannot replace another. I don't know how to enjoy Christmas when one of my children is so obviously absent from us. She was my Christmas baby. She is my Christmas baby. My heart needs her. Not just at Christmas, but every day of the year.

This is probably Austin's last year to be a complete believer in the magic that surrounds Christmas. His friends (darn them) are intent upon ridding him of his innocence. I want this Christmas to be a very memorable one for him. I want this to be a very good and memorable Christmas for us all. But when we all wake up on Christmas morning this year and gather around the tree and begin the multiple little traditions we have been performing for years around here on Christmas mornings, there will be an empty place. That empty place looms large in front of me. I don't want to see it. I don't want to feel the feelings that go with it. I want my Christmas baby back. I want that precious girl to see what love really is and I want her out of the clutches of the Grinch. Santa, bring my baby back to me.

Well, what a difference time can make. This past summer, Emily left this man. They are now divorced and she is once again the happy, funny girl that we remember. She came home and visited twice since June and our relationship is not only restored, but better than it's ever been. She has been miserable for a very long time and finally was able to break free and get her life back. I wish you could hear the joy in her voice when I talk to her almost every day on the phone. She has a new boyfriend and we have met him. He is such a nice guy and is so good to her. He is the answer to my prayers! They are very serious already and we are very happy for her. They are coming home for Christmas on Tuesday night and I cannot wait to get my arms around her. Santa is bringing my baby back to me!!!!!!

I tell this story for a reason. Sometimes we think that our situation, whatever it is, will never change. We think that things can't get better, that miracles can't happen and that relationships are ruined. I am here to tell you that miracles do happen. If you knew how seemingly hopeless this situation was and how totally restored it is now you would understand. So, if you are living through something now that makes you feel like giving up....hold on. If your heart is broken....hold on. If you feel lost....hold on. Love can conquer anything. I have proof and that proof will walk in my door on Tuesday night.


I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

That was a beautiful entry and thank you so much for sharing. It is so true - Love can conquer. We often think we are at the end of the rope but if we hang on, things will change. 'On Ya'-ma

Cindi said...

What a great entry, thx for sharing, even better what a great CHRISTmas you will have this year!

Remo said...

Great thoughts, especially for the holidays. Have a great Christmas!

kbear's heart 2 said...

OOOO...i'm sooo HAPPY for you. what a great Christmas gift this year. yep you're right, Miracles do happen! HAPPY HOLIDAYS~kbear

Beth said...

What a great story, Melissa. I'm so glad it had a happy ending. It serves as inspiration for any of us who have family issues, and gives us hope that all will work out in the end.

Thank you for sharing this.

Hugs, Beth

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

Wonderful entry, I am very excited for you and know that Tuesday will be one of the best days of your life.

Hope is a wonderful thing, and we have hope that a current situation will turn our similar in 3 or 4 years.

Caroline said...

What a great story. Thankfully, things change! I belive in the power of prayer and all the goodness it brings. Yes, we must hold on. It may not happen overnight, but it will happen. Thank you for sharing this with us!

Terri said...

Wonderful entry!

Miracles do happen :)

So glad you got your Christmas baby back!!

Thanks so much for sharing...and so sorry you had to go through so much pain and heartache!


Monica said...

Melissa you have made me a puddle of tears. I have been reminding myself to hold on, to be patient that I to will get my baby back. I think we may be getting him back sooner than I thought. However, I'm afraid to get my hopes up just yet. So, for the moment, I keep praying. Thank you for the beautiful entry - and yes, I read both as I read in reverse order.


Chris said...

Beautiful and very personal post. I loved it, except I am reading in reverse and now need to go back and read today's post about her diagnosis.

Lisa said...

Awwwww what a beautiful entry, I'm so glad you got your daughter back, Hugs Lisa

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