My younger daughter told a friend at school that she was engaged and moving across the country to live with his family.  Friend texted my older daughter that she was concerned, older daughter showed text to husband and husband calls a family meeting to confront younger daughter about the text and she said:

She is flying out on Tuesday afternoon to meet her boyfriend and on Wednesday they fly to his family where she is planning to marry him then stay with them while he goes back to base and applies for on-base housing, get a job and restart her senior year of high school.

Oh crap.

My husband starts his traditional routine of cold, accusing questions – he is hurt, angry, in shock and frustrated and his posture and tone of voice shows it.  My younger daughter was calm, clear-headed and for the most part soft-spoken.  She shared her reasons for leaving and they begin and end with her father, my husband.  She is hurt and angry that he has never listened to her, never tried to understand her and has never been there for her.  Her voice began to raise just a bit when she became passionate and broke once when she almost cried but overall she stood her ground and stuck up for herself with grace and poise, I was so very proud of her and I told her so afterward.  I don’t agree with the choice she’s made and I wish she would stay here with me but I will always love her – I told her that too.

My  husband’s facial expressions and posture did not change throughout the conversation but his voice did become a whisper when he asked her to reconsider.  My first thought after it was all over was that he thinks he has totally humbled himself to her and was begging her to stay but that’s not what came across, what I saw, and I’m sure what my younger daughter saw as well, was that he was looking down on her from a place of moral superiority.  He was nowhere near heartbroken at her news, simply outraged that she could defy him like this.  I happen to know that he is also terrified at the thought of the consequences her choices will most likely bring to her life – I am too – but the fear turns his conversations with her into an inquisition while my conversations with her run to gentle reminders that she will always be loved, information to help keep her safe and that it’s never too late to change her mind and come home.

My older daughter sat and listened to the entire conversation without a word or a single emotion showing on her face.  Afterward we each gave my younger daughter a hug and then our younger daughter went to bed.  My husband asked our older daughter if she was OK and her response was yes but her tone said “Of course I am, why wouldn’t I be?” as if nothing important had just happened.  She frustrates me.  A lot.

My  husband asked her to go to church with them today “to say goodbye to people” and for some reason she agreed.  I was surprised because I know she hasn’t wanted to go to that church for a long time now.  She did go and said it was horrible, that her father had told people that she was leaving so they came up to her and told her she shouldn’t go, etc.  He came home and said it was great, that she got to hear the same message that he was trying to tell her from several different people and he hoped it would impact her.  Seriously?

I’m ready to shoot both of them.  He needs to realize that all we have left is a chance to maintain a future relationship with her and quit demanding answers to his questions.  She needs to realize that she is blowing everything out of proportion and that her life is not as bad as she thinks it is.

I talked with him tonight and told him that we only have a day and a half left with her and he needs to stop asking her questions.  He didn’t think he could do that.  I told him to find a way.  He asked if he was too black and white.  I said yes but I recognize that it’s a part of his personality.  He asked me something along the lines of “What am I supposed to do now?” and then started to get upset with me when I didn’t have a ready answer, he even said “You’re my helpmate, you’re supposed to have the answer and help me” and I cut him off saying I had already told him what needs to be done for the next couple of days and that’s all I’ve got right now.  I told him it could be worse.  She could be planning on just living with him and not getting married or finishing high school.  She could have committed suicide instead of leaving.  There are lots of ways it could be worse.

It feels weird to be the person with their head on straight in this situation.  I feel like I should be sobbing on his shoulder, being consoled instead of holding his hand and telling him everything is going to be all right.  This isn’t really a marriage anymore but I don’t know what to call it.

I would like to sleep for a week but that’s probably just my way of sticking my head in the sand.  Still, it would be nice to get that much rest…  One more day of work for me and then one day with my younger daughter before she flies away and life as I know it changes forever.

The beginning of the end has truly begun.

 

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