Stacey, my step-daughter left for the Army today. She had a ton of questions. I kept reminding her that I left for boot camp 27 years ago. I imagine that things have changed. What hasn't changed is that excitement, the thrill of leaving northwestern Pennsylvania behind, a fresh start, the feeling that the whole world was within my grasp. I'm glad for her and I remember my own excitement as I watch her begin her big adventure.
We never had a chance to be close. Tim was divorced 8 years before he and I met, but his ex doesn't like me and the kids got caught in that war of loyalties. I tried very hard to be patient, but it made me sad to watch Tim lose those years with his kids. If I tried to build bridges, I was 'trying to take her children away.' If I tried to let things ride, she was telling them that I preferred my own over them. I tried to talk to her, but you can't talk to a screamer, and somewhere along the line, I figured out that she didn't hate me because I was a bad mom. She was afraid of me because I was a good one.
We stopped over to say goodbye to Stacey, and to wish her well. I was surprised when she hugged me. Even more shocked when she said she loved me. I've not heard that since Tim and I first decided to marry. I'm sad for the lost years.
I think we could have been close. But maybe it's not too late.