A casualty of our impending relocation to New York came the day after our youngest daughter told her boyfriend we were moving. He decided to end their relationship . . . via text message none-the-less. In an attempt to help her feel better, I unearthed my diary from the early 80s and read some of the entries out loud.
Words of sappy love and pained sorrow echoed throughout the house along with intermittent laughter at the absurdity of the laments from my teen years. During that point of my life there was enough heartbreak and drama written on those pages that I didn’t need to watch television.
By the sound of most of the entries I was my own soap opera.
One entry I shared was about the time I received a break up note from my boyfriend while he was at my house for a youth party. He hand delivered the note to me as he passed through the open garage door in search of his latest crush. On the outside of the fancy folded note he had written his name with the additive, “The Breaker-Upper.” Inside the note he lamely explained the reasons for going separate ways. He stated that our relationship was ending because of him, not because of me. For weeks I continued to write in my diary about how much I liked the boy, and how I wished he’d come to his senses and ask me to be his girlfriend again.
Reading the words aloud I almost felt sorry for myself. I wasted valuable time pining over boys who didn’t know I existed, or who just plain ole broke my young heart.
I can laugh about this stuff now. And laugh we did. For a few moments, all the laughter (at my expense) helped ease the sting of the break up. While some hurts take more time to heal than others, I don’t think the hurt she feels will linger. The kid is one tough cookie. Over the past year my daughter has walked through some fairly rough patches. She’s cleared hurdles that others have struggled to leap over. Because of her fortitude, I am confident that she will emerge on the other side of the pain and be stronger for learning how to maneuver through this broken relationship.
In the meantime, as she processes her emotions, I try to encourage her and to intently listen as she talks about her feelings. I think listening is the key. She needs to be heard and to know that her feelings do matter. As she talks I try to identify appropriate moments to feed her tidbits of coping advice. When I stumble for the right words to voice, I hope that motherly love and compassion shine brightly through the cracks of lost speech.
As a side note, if you read my last post, Twenty-One, you will know that I have long since moved beyond pining for “The Breaker Upper.” In fact, the boy did me a favor by letting me go. I have a feeling that my daughter will come to the same realization. Who knows, maybe the perfect catch for her will be found just across the border in New York.
I am curious to hear from you. How have you handled situations like this with your kids? What words of wisdom have you shared with your children as they maneuvered through a broken relationship?
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