Janine - It's interesting that you had second thoughts about the second half of your response. But I have been thinking about how to respond to that all evening, so I want to do that.

You said I seemed to not be taking responsibility for my part of the estrangement. There was a time that you would have been right, because I had no idea what I had done. My daughter has never shared that with me, although there was an incident that happened beforehand where she asked for the title to her car and I would not give it to her. She was only 17 and did not have a job to buy a new car. After that, all communication was cut off. For years, I would have told you that was the reason she estranged herself from me.

Since then, I have done a lot of work, healing my own emotional traumas and facing a lot of very hard stuff. I have grown to understand that estrangement doesn't happen in a vacuum, and there were a lot of circumstances that built up to that conclusion. Am I responsible for all of it? No, but I have seen where I am responsible, the ways that I failed her, the way she felt abandoned after her father and I divorced. I have written her a letter detailing all the ways I understand that I failed her, and asking her to share her part of the story, but I have never gotten a response.

I have my eyes wide open to the ways I am responsible for her pain. I am not afraid to admit that I made mistakes that hurt her. I am careful what I share in my writing because I am always aware that, while I am free to tell my story, she has to tell her own if she ever feels led. I cannot, and will not, overstep my boundaries in what I can tell.

You are right. This has been one of the greatest opportunities for growth that I have ever been given. For that I am grateful. I have written a lot about this and you will find that I while I have learned to step up and take responsibility, I have also learned to forgive myself for the mistakes I have made. It serves no one for me to live with the shame of being an imperfect human. All I can do is try to make amends if she will ever let me.

Thank you for reading.

Human learning to be human. Writing in hopes of getting there.

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