Faye in Corpus Christi writes:
In February I met a man who I believe could be the love of my life – someone I could have a healthy and loving relationship with after a previous relationship turned into a nightmare. Over the last several months we decided I would move with him to a state that is very far away. The only thing I was concerned about was my 21-year-old daughter, who just had a baby, and is not in a good place in her relationship with her boyfriend – the father of that baby. A couple of weeks ago he told her he was not in love with her, and she asked me to bring her back to where I am – in another city.
I have decided to go ahead with my plans to be with this man. We have other family members here to help support her, but they are older and will not be able to help much with the baby. I feel torn, but my family has encouraged me to go ahead with my plans – so that is the path I am on now. Please tell me how you see this working out. My daughter is still not in a good place, and I feel like I am abandoning her.
Even though your daughter isn’t in the best spot or circumstances, she is living her life the way she has chosen, and you have the right to do the same. That doesn’t mean it’s going to be an easy transition for either one of you – it’s not, but easier doesn’t always mean better. For the sake of your new life and your relationship, you are going to need time to adjust and settle in. When things are established in your new surroundings, then you may consider moving your daughter and grandchild closer – but I don’t see them moving in!
You aren’t abandoning her. When she needs you, you are there. Right now you are more present, and your support will change to being there over the phone and a check in the mail. No matter where you are, you will always support and guide her as best you can, but the current circumstances are causing her to become more responsible than she wants to be. It isn’t pleasant, but it may not be a bad thing.
Your daughter may be feeling alone, and more than a bit scared – but she has to learn to stand on her own. She isn’t a weak or foolish woman, although she can be a bit naive. Even though a new baby can be quite a handful, she will manage – just as so many other single mothers have learned to do. You may not be around for the hands-on help she is hoping for, but even from a distance you will be a great source of support, while she figures out what it is exactly that she is going to do.
Initially, after you leave, your daughter will be a bit upset with you, even though a deeper part of her understands. Reassure her that you will be back from time to time to visit, and she can also come out and spend some time with you. It is going to be tough on her for a while, but she does still have support from other family and friends. With a little help, and the passing of time, your daughter will find a rhythm of peace in her life. She will learn how to balance being a mom with her other responsibilities – so well that it may surprise you. It is just going to take her some time to get used to being what she sees as “alone,” even though she’s not going to be alone for long. She, too, will find happiness in love.
You raised your daughter to be independent and strong, but parenting is a job that is never quite done. However, there comes a point in time – which you have reached – when you are justified in placing the priority on yourself and your life. It’s not your fault that her life blew up, and no matter where you are, there’s only so much you can do. I know you have not, and will never, fail her. And she knows, regardless of where you are living, that she can always count on you. That’s not abandonment – that’s just life.
Go, and be happy!