Twenty-one years ago today, I had a baby girl. She wasn't my first, but she was the first that had to be surgically removed from my belly. Her dad and I were already getting divorced, but he was there for the birth and to share in the freaking out when we heard that they were going to have to do a C-Section. I remember watching him biting his nails. Luckily, our oldest was at home with Grandma, so at least we didn't have to worry about that.
The surgery was successful. I was scared, but I made it. And after plenty of drugs, a lot of post-surgical vomiting, and a few days at a hospital overlooking the ocean, I had to go home. My mom picked me up, along with my older daughter, and I took my new baby girl home to a crib that looked ready for a Victorian Princess.
A few days later, a nurse came to do a post op visit. It was nice to have someone care. She gave both my daughter and I a clean bill of health. And then she got a funny look on her face. "Are you all by yourself?" I sheepishly smiled and said, "Yes," quickly followed by a "but I'll be okay." She gave me a concerned look and I responded with a fake-confidence smile. When I said goodbye and closed the door, I turned back to look at my daughters and thought, "Well... it's just us now."
Twenty-one years later, I can point to all the times that it was not so easy being a young single mom. I made mistakes. Mistakes my kids aren't ready to forgive me for. But I wasn't that bad. In fact, I can point to so much more good... and I think I deserve a little grace, especially considering all I did... all the sacrifices.
But I probably won't get it.
My twenty-one year old and I don't speak. It's been a couple of years. Actually, two years exactly. I was calling to wish her a happy 19th birthday. She answered, made a deeply annoyed sighing sound, and then hung up. I figured that was an accident (the hang up, not the annoyed sigh), so I called her back. She did it again.
Oh no you didn't.
So I called again. And that's when she started yelling at me that she was having lunch with her boyfriend's grandma and some other stuff... and then that she hated me. And then later, just to pour salt in my wounds, she texted me that I'd never see her baby.
Did I mention she was pregnant? No? Oh... she was pregnant. With my only grandbaby. The one I'll apparently never get to see.
This story doesn't get any better, so I'll stop telling it.
Some days, it's easier to deal with her absence than others. Especially on the days that I remember her cruel teenage words.
But not today.
Today, I just wish we were normal.
I just wish we could both sit and chat about whatever.
I wish she could see me at her age, bringing her home to the crib that I had spent months getting ready for her. I wish she could see me holding her in my arms as I sang lullabies to her. I wish she would erase the memories of a mom and a teenager fighting and yelling ugly things at each other.
I wish I could see her. And her baby.
But all I can see is this scar.