There Goes My Life

IMG_0601I remember my daughter’s first steps, her first words, the first book she read all by herself, her first day of school, the first movie she loved, her first crush, her first heart break, the day my best friend and I dropped her off at college, all of it a tapestry of memories, forever playing notes in my soul. One of those country songs waiting to happen.

Atlantis 011I no longer recall the pain that came with the struggles of raising a daughter on my own, the exhaustion, the stress of trying to provide a good life for the two of us. I know at times it was very hard, but from the moment I held my daughter the first time, all regret was gone. Even though, I had no business having a child when I did, a child I knew I would have to raise on my own.

My story is not that unusual. Wendell Mobley and Neil Thurber wrote about my life for Kenny Chesney to sing about way back in 2003 when Kate was only ten years old. It told the story of young man getting his girlfriend pregnant, giving up his dreams, and staying to raise a child and finding love and delight in his decision.

That was not quite my story.  There was no young man in my life. It was just me, immature, unsure of what I wanted, not settled, dead broke, and pregnant before my life even began. So I saw myself in that song, but only as far as the second verse. Yeah, I loved my little girl and there was nothing I would trade her for. Then the years rolled by.

KateandStuff 028My daughter went to the University of Georgia for college, just down the road a spell from where I lived. She had been accepted at schools as far away as California, but decided to stay close for a short while longer. And so I thought she would remain tied to the South, to home.

After all, I had dreams too that fell away over the years, dreams of living in the UK, living as a gypsy traversing the world with nothing but a backpack and pen and paper for writing. Perhaps, I was not so brave as my daughter. Perhaps, that mistake I thought I made simply spawned new dreams.

Friday morning, March 10, 2017, my life got up before dawn and drove away. My daughter, Kate, moved to Brooklyn, New York. To stay. This is how things are meant to be. I know that. I am so proud of my little girl. Still, who knew things would go so fast? The lyrics of that old song changed to strip my life bare and left me bleeding. There goes my life.

AutumnSkyAll she could think about was I’m too young for this. Got my whole life ahead. Hell I’m just a kid myself. How’m I gonna raise one?

All she could see were her dreams goin’ up in smoke. So much for ditchin’ this town and hangin’ out on the coast. Oh well, those plans are long gone.

And she said, There goes my life. There goes my future, my everything. Might as well kiss it all good-bye. There goes my life…….

IMG_0600A couple years of up all night and a few thousand diapers later. That mistake she thought she made covers up the refrigerator. Oh yeah……….she loves that little girl.

IMG_0598Momma’s waiting to tuck her in, As she fumbles up those stairs. She smiles back at her dragging that teddy bear. Sleep tight, big eyes and bouncin’ curls.

She smiles….. There goes my life. There goes my future, my everything. I love you, mommy good-night. There goes my life.

 

img_0381She had that Honda loaded down. With Abercrombie clothes and 15 pairs of shoes and her American Express. She checked the oil and slammed the hood, said you’re good to go. She hugged her tight and headed up the East Coast.

And she cried, There goes my life. There goes my future, my everything. I love you. Baby good-bye.

 

IMG_0589There goes my life. There goes my life.

Baby good-bye.

8 thoughts on “There Goes My Life

  1. Big hug, Elise! 😦 It’s tough, I know. While I still have all my kids at home, the older ones are chomping at the bit to spread their wings and fly. And I know as soon as they are able to, they will. You already know about my FirstBorn, her auditioning, and her dreams to be gone soon. I’m told the fact she is capable of earning money and pursuing her dreams is a credit to how we’ve raised her. I don’t know about that, but I can say I know she’ll be okay. They all will when their time comes. And so will your Kate. You’ve done well, Elise. It’s okay to be sad, and shed a tear or ten, but you can be proud, too, of her and yourself. 🙂

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    1. Yep. It’s tough. And I definitely couldn’t do it six times. I am so proud of my Kate but I miss her so much already. August seems an eternity away. That’s when I go to New York for writer’s conference. It will be the longest we have been apart since her birth. Still, I raised her to chase her dreams. And she is.

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  2. Ginger Cooper

    We all know it’s coming, and we all know it’s part of life when the kids fly the coop, but it can still be a shocker when it actually happens. Now you have one more –REALLY BIG — reason to visit New York. I’m so proud of you, and so proud of Kate also. Big hug, and the next beer is on me!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Not as brave as your daughter? You look like the bravest woman possible, to me!

    If you can ever use the commiseration (or a listening ear for a good vent) of someone who’s been alone almost all their adult life, hit me up, I’m good at listening or sharing the rant. 🙂

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    1. Thank you, Diane. That means a lot to me.

      I have always preferred alone myself. Only alone with my daughter less than 743 miles away. I figured that must be the writer in me. I spend so much time reading and writing – both solitary pursuits. That and I have always been a bit shy and awkward with grown humans. I do well with animals. I would be great with a dragon. People- well, I am getting better about that in no small part due to my daughter.

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  4. Oh, Elise, what a wonderful tribute to your daughter. I’ve gone through a similar story with my daughter. I know she’s happy, so that’s enough to make me happy … most of the time.

    This life is crazy, right. Gut-wrenching one moment, joyful the next. It’s all these experiences that come together to make your story. And you’ve got a great one. Enjoy your future, Elise — both the part where you’re alone and writing and also the part where you have a reason to visit New York.

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  5. Yes, John, it is amazing how my happiness spins around the happiness of my daughter. I guess that is being a parent, yes? I am so amazed by her. And thrilled for her. And I miss her.

    And I can’t wait to visit New York in August, to visit my daughter, naturally, but also to attend the Writer’s Digest Conference. Perhaps, some from the Reef will be there as well. Maybe. Possibly.

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