It was another day just like so many other days before. The fighting, the screaming, the name calling, the crying and the guilt. How many more days can I go through this? My daughter Teddi was 15 and it felt like I had been fighting with her for 20 years. How in God's name would I able to recover, how was I not in an insane asylum from all the wear and tear. The problems in the relationship highlighted the fact that I never felt good enough, constantly comparing myself to anyone that would come into my life; friends, family, co-workers. It did't matter, I believed everyone was better than me. A better mother, a better friend, a better cook, a better wife. Why was I struggling all the time? The low self-esteem.
I beat myself up so often, I was told I had an invisible baseball bat with me at all times. I wanted to die more than I wanted to live. I prayed for God to take me, but through His grace, I kept going. I was bipolar and worse, I was undiagnosed with no medication to help me. My mood swings, my inability to cope with my problems. The highs and lows, the racing thoughts.
Before I knew it, we were at it again. Fighting, screaming, name calling, crying and more guilt. Going to bed with guilt was pretty much the norm for me.
For some reason during our arguments Teddi always seemed to have more energy to fight. She wore me down and I think it was because she was angrier about her life and my divorce. After our last argument, she went upstairs to her room, thank God.
I didn't dare say a word to her for fear the fighting would start again.
I poked my head in and saw her asleep. She looked so peaceful. I had hoped that her dreams weren't the same as the time she spent awake. I hoped they were peaceful and that maybe she would wake up less angry.
She slept for about 5 hours. I worried and tried waking her up, but she would grunt and wave me off so I left her alone. She needed the sleep and I needed a break. It seemed the only time we weren't fighting was when one of us was asleep. In all honesty, I loved sleeping because it was the only peace I seemed to have in my life.
She decided to go out and meet up with a friend that she met earlier that week at school. They seemed to have a lot in common from what Teddi told me. The girl came from a divorced household, she had two older brothers and a father who was busy raising another family out of state. Teddi & Paula became very close very fast. Paula was sweet and genuine, I liked her very much. I felt sorry for her because she reminded me of me when I was young, same background; broken home, a worrier and a people pleaser. At such a young age, I wondered why Paula struggled emotionally so much. What happened in her life to get her to this point? It was sad, but she was sweet and caring and Teddi needed that. I hoped that Teddi would appreciate the fact that I treated her friend with love. Who knows maybe that would bring us closer. Maybe that's just what we needed. Perhaps she would see me embracing her relationship with her new friend and she would see the good in me.
Teddi spent a lot of time with her new friend. Sometimes, she would come home and tell me how badly she felt for Paula. She said Paula had such low self-esteem and always seemed kind of troubled, but Paula had a sweet spirit about her and they genuinely enjoyed each other's company. They were able to share secrets and their deepest innermost hopes and dreams and I was grateful that Paula came into our lives. The girls also shared something else, they both showed signs of depression. I think that's one of the reasons why they clung to each other, they understood each other. Paula was a positive sounding board for Teddi. Even with the depression, I did notice a change in Teddi. She wasn't so angry, maybe she felt understood and validated with Paula. It seemed like Paula was a blessing in disguise.
After some time, Teddi shared with me that Paula missed her father terribly. She was very close to her dad as a child and after the divorce, he slowly estranged himself from the family and lost touch with her. It was hard for Paula, she missed him. He was busy raising two girls from his new family and that left a terrible void with Paula. Teddi noticed that Paula never seemed to feel good enough, pretty enough or smart enough. She wasn't a great student in school and she seemed to gravitate toward the troubled kids, but thankfully that passed. I'm sure it was her trying to get attention and lashing out because her dad wasn't there. That's where Teddi came in. She gave Paula something that she was missing. Unconditional love.
Teddi found a soulmate with Paula and they spent the next few years inseparable. Nothing seemed to get in the way of their friendship, boys would come and go, other friends would come and go, but their love for each other was so strong that no one could shake it. I was grateful for Paula because Teddi felt a different type of love from her, it was what Teddi needed. For some reason the love she received from Paula took away a lot of the anger she felt for me and through their friendship, we got closer again. It was as though she understood me better because of her friendship with Paula. She told me that Paula reminded her a little of me but she couldn't figure out why.
I can tell you why, because I'm Paula. Confused? Don't be. If you remember, Teddi fell asleep earlier in this story. She did't go out as was told earlier. She stayed sleeping and had a dream, a very vivid dream. In her dream she befriended me, her mother, and I was her age. In her dream we became best friends. She lived life along side of me, seeing me struggle without a father. Watching me trying to navigate life with depression. She woke up and came downstairs crying. She realized it was me in her dream and that was I her best friend. She learned so much about my childhood and all the struggles I endured during her dream. She understood me now because she lived out my youth with me. This brought us closer than ever as she shared this amazing story with me. She then told me "you were my best friend all along".