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I am moving in with … Myself

MyHeartWillGoOnMy Heart Will Go On
I am a child of the ’50s and ’60s and so as a first time parent during the ’70s there were a couple of things I feared for my children. Outwardly I felt completely confident in my ability to handle every normal growing up condition my children could present to me with with the help of the latest antibiotics and a proper smack. After all, what else could go wrong?

But regardless of how much I protected her and kept her away from harm and other boys, deep inside my heart I knew that one day my daughter will meet another man to take my place. And I also knew that he would not touch her in any indecent way or make any inappropriate suggestions and that he would honour her honour with his life, etc etc etc.

I did not bargain on the incredibly remote possibility that she might be the one that would initiate those horrible carnal activities herself. I didn’t raise her like that!

So it came as a complete surprise to me when she announced to me one day: “I am moving in with Mr X” (name witheld to protect the innocent). How could she! What happened to all those years I cared for her and protected her and taught her to be a strong and independent woman who could look after herself! Oh the pain!

Like I said, at the time I was blinded by my selfish attitude and self-inflicted pain and I didn’t see the truth of what she was saying. That in fact she was now an adult and more than capable of making her own decisions, and in particular to love the man she chose in the manner she chooses. All I know is I felt my Parenting was a total waste.

Fast forward some years to today. My son, who is as close to me as my daughter is, called me a few weeks ago to tell me that his marriage is on the rocks and he just wanted to hear his Dad say that everything is going to be ok. He told me he was devastated by the unfolding events. I could empathise with him because I had also experienced the rejection of a loved one many years ago. The strong and confident young man I loved to watch when he was growing up sat before me in a crumpled heap and cried. And again I felt my Parenting had come to naught.

We talked, we visited, we commisserated, we shared anecdotes. I knew from my own experience that time was the only thing that will bring perspective. Patiently I walked the slow road with him when he needed to talk. And slowly I could see him sorting through the bits of his life he wanted to keep, discarding the pieces that reminded him of her. I liked the fact that he was willing to take responsibility and control and that he packed his stuff and organised his life to move on. He didn’t miss a day from work. He started to look for a place to stay. It took him a while to go from “We” to “I” but he got there.

And then, one day while we were chatting about where he is going to stay now, he casually dropped the following sentence: “This weekend I’m moving in with Myself“. It struck me as a profound statement filled with so much promise of healing that I want to share it.

Clearly he is beginning to understand that he must discover himself again, that he must furnish his place with items that he enjoys, that he must surround himself with the things that he likes. If ever he wants to enter into a relationship again, he will have to find out who he is and what he is, first. I liked his statement very much and I recognised it one of the first steps he must take to a full recovery and hopefully a new love.

Maybe I didn’t do such a bad job of parenting strong and confident children after all.

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June 2024

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