The past 48 hours we have celebrated some small victories. This came on the heels of the past week which was filled with more bad decisions. On Thursday, I had signed up both girls for Taekwondo. After talking with different professionals, I felt this would offer them a way of channeling their anger and aggression from the divorce as well as everything else going on. Upon arrival at the studio, my 13-year-old was hesitant, yet excited about the prospect of it all. Emma (who had taken it upon herself to read my messages earlier) would not make eye contact through dinner and then stood with her arms folded, refusing to try on the gi, refusing to participate, and then walked outside where she screamed at me for 30 minutes. I was LIVID. I told her I was going to call the police, she didn’t care. I told her she could go live with her father, she told me she didn’t want to live with me anymore anyway. 

At that moment, I wanted to give up. 

Instead, I drove her to the hospital where we sat outside and I told her something had to change. She cried, I cried and I hoped and prayed that somewhere I had gotten through to her. I was not going to let a child speak to me that way while living in my home, I was not going to have a child keep crying, screaming, and having temper tantrums at 17 years old. She told me she was sad a lot of the time, I told her they would help. We walked inside and then walked back out. She wanted to go in and then she begged me not to take her. In the end,  I could never bring myself to take her inside. Although I have witnessed many parents who had no other choice but to do so, I felt Emma was more behavioral. I could not bring myself to leave my child in the hands of someone else. I felt like I was abandoning her,  and as a former ER nurse, now the mother, I thought about all of those parents who have had to make that decision and drive away.

We drove home singing and laughing, and I thought we had made ground. The next day she returned to school and was seemingly in a good mood when she came home. On Saturday, I left to finish up my Christmas shopping. I had been gone for 5 minutes and I had a notification come to my phone that she had logged into the Instagram account that she and the man shared together. I turned my car around. She was completely shocked when I came back through the door, but proceeded to choose to lie to me when I asked if she was trying to communicate with him. At that moment, I unwrapped every gift under the tree and told her I was taking them all back. I left the house with the 13-year-old in charge and the house alarm set, and I took back every present I had bought her. It was one of the hardest things I have had to do. I returned home to a letter she had written and for the first time, I felt like she may have felt remorse. 

On Sunday, I still had a few things that I needed to take back and so I asked her to come with me. We were in a store where I heard people making fun of me from behind stating “that’s not how you discipline your child” As we checked out, Emma said “They just took a picture of you” by this point I was pissed so I turned my camera on them. You would be amazed at how quickly people change when the camera is turned on them. Time with her mom may have been what the doctor ordered because on the way home, as she talked, she told me how angry she was now, how she didn’t know if going to the same school was a good idea, or maybe if she changed schools, she was just running from her problems. We talked for the whole ride home. It was the first time that she had started to process things like an adult, not a self-entitled brat.

Today, she came home from school in a good mood again. Processed through more and said, “changing schools won’t matter, so maybe I will just tough it out?” We went ahead and filled out the paperwork for the boot camp we had found online, had family dinner and watched Criminal Minds. It was the first time I had seen glimmers of hope in my child in at least 6 months. I reiterated how proud I was, but that I was even more proud that she was starting to think about things and how they may affect her future. I am still holding my breath because I am so nervous about what is to come next, but for now, we have had 48 hours of good decisions and  I will continue to celebrate every small victory.