"Say what you have to say, and not what you ought."
~ Henry David Thoreau

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Love Wins

Yesterday was one year since I had back surgery to repair a herniated disc. To celebrate I went for a run outside. Normally that would hardly be worth mentioning except a year ago I didn't know if I would run again, which is why I decided going for a run was the perfect way to mark the day's significance. As I ran I reflected on the last 12 months and the many changes in my life during that time. What a difference a year can make! It hasn't been an easy year. In fact, the first half of the year was one of the most challenging periods of my life. Somehow though, I survived. As much as I'm loathe to admit it, that old saying is true--what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. 

In April I wrote this post about me and my daughter: Parenting Confessions. Things were pretty bleak then, and they got much worse before they got better. As I re-read that post and the comments people left for me I noticed my mom's comment, "Love wins. That doesn't mean there won't be heartbreak, but in the end all that remains is love." She was right, as moms often are. There was plenty of heartbreak, sadness, anger and betrayal while Gillian struggled to find her bearings in the world and I fought to maintain control. Controlling another person is impossible, of course. If there's one big life lesson I really worked on this year, it was learning to accept that I can only control myself. That's an easy thing to understand intellectually, but for me, accepting it and learning to let go of things I have no control over was a real challenge. 

It took hours and hours in a therapist's office for me to learn to acknowledge my lack of control over others, including my teenage daughter. I also had to learn to trust my own judgement and set appropriate boundaries with people I care for. For a few months earlier this year it seemed like I was going backwards in my life. In order to move forward I first had to rid myself of hurtful, damaging relationships and set really firm rules of engagement with my daughter. After more than a year of stops and starts and hanging on by a very thin thread, I finally found the courage and strength to make the final break in a 4 1/2 year relationship that just wasn't working. That gave me the emotional energy and mental clarity to focus on the one relationship that really mattered--the one with my daughter. We also took a break for a while. Again with encouragement from my therapist, I accepted that it didn't mean I was a failure as a mother if I acknowledged we needed a break from living together. Gillian spent over four months living at her dad's. Making that decision caused me great pain, and I really doubted it was the right choice. I finally took a giant leap of faith and trusted the words of my therapist and my mom, who both said essentially the same thing, that love will prevail in the end. Which it did.  

The time we spent not living together was time well spent for both of us. We both needed time to heal and to forgive each other. We talked nearly every day and saw each other frequently. I learned to enjoy my daughter again as a person. I also thoroughly enjoyed my time alone! I stopped feeling guilty that I wasn't "mothering" 24/7 and simply enjoyed my freedom. I forgave myself. I had a great summer doing whatever I wanted, when I wanted, and didn't feel the least bit guilty about it. Instead of feeling sad and lonely about being single and going places alone, I embraced it. I was free! For the first time in years I felt truly happy and at peace with my life. 

I'm not sure exactly when things turned the corner, but life is really good right now. Gillian is doing excellent in school again, has a nice boyfriend, is enjoying the freedom of owning her first car, working, and making plans for college in the near future. As for me, I smile a lot these days. Once I learned to let go, accept things as they come and live my life for me, I found someone who makes my heart happy. Life is good. My mom was right. Love wins every time. 


  1. Yep, it does, and Love will continue to win. I have tears flowing down my face. It has been quite a year for you. You did have the courage and strength to work hard to understand yourself and your relationships. I respect you so much for doing that, and am grateful that you took that scary journey into understanding self. Thank you for trusting me enough to allow me to take this journey with you. I don't know what I'd do without you in my life. You are a wonderful, supportive daughter to me, and a great sounding board for me. You are also a courageous mother. Love sends messages to the loved one which never even have to be spoken. Gillian heard your message. She knows for sure that she is deeply loved for who she is, not for what she does, by her mother. That is the greatest gift you can give a child. MOM XO

  2. Keicha, this is beautiful and brave to share. I have such admiration for you conquering the struggle of the past few years, holding tight to what matters and making room in your heart to allow whatever else might come in as you move on. Relationships are tough and not everyone has the fortitude and courage to stick it out. For this you have my deep honor and respect and admiration. Oh yes, love does win.


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