Category Archives: The College Years

Ten Years

Yesterday, Hope and I observed the 10th anniversary of her moving in and me taking custody.

I knew the day was coming, but I wasn’t intentionally keeping up with it. And then, last night a fleeting thought crossed my mind…

“Wait, is today the day? We probably missed it.”

::Looks at calendar::

Oh damn, today is the day.

So, I sent Hope a text.

Our celebration.

It is pretty crazy. In many ways it flew by, I flipped thru her graduation pictures recently. And then there’s evidence of the struggles, each one feeling like it was its own eternal path.

I see the nearly totally gray head of hair. The few new moles on my cheeks. The meds and supplements I take now that I didn’t take then (I’m looking at you, raggedy arse Estrogen that I can’t seem to live without about 15 days or of month, but I digress).

Hope is a legal adult now. She’s so different than the little kid who sat on my cousin’s floor on Thanksgiving and looked the sole of her own foot for an hour desperately willing our attention. What I didn’t know then, but I know now is that When Hope didn’t get enough attention she will have us at the urgent care within 24-36 hours. After a couple of years of unnecessarily dramatic ER trips, I have to try really hard not to be skeptical when she says she’s not feeling well. I know my kid, I swear I’ve experienced so much that I struggle with empathy desensitization. Not proud of it.

Hope is a early twenty something with tats and a nose piercing, a huge head of natural hair, who loves her body, is trying to figure this next chapter out, wanting so much more freedom and never admitting that she knows she’s not ready for it but all her peers are doing all the things.

And our 9th year…

Our 9th year was as difficult as the first 2 years. Now that I think of it, they were mirrors. How the problems manifested differently, but the core issue? Trust and attachment? Yeah.

I’ve been meaning to create a new vision board for the year. The years that I have done them, consistently the things came to pass within 2.5 years. The last one I created was in 2020 before the pandemic. And despite the pandemic, much of it has come to fruition in its own way. But during these 3 years I’ve also experienced some dark emotional stuff that’s made me so different from the person I was 3 years ago. So it’s something I need to do to recapture my bearings. I’ve felt rudderless for some months now.

Some of that is because I’ve been really working hard to process these years. Some of my absolute worst fears came true, just one devastating trauma after another. Every damn year. I’d think, Aye, it’s been two months and we might have leveled out. But, no.

So I’m hitting it hard in therapy these days and wrestling with that stuff hasn’t gotten to the much better phase quite yet. It’s better, much ‘much’ is a stretch.

I’m also seriously considering what it would be like if I did the work I do with some other group or freelance. What would it be like to drive hard for 3-5 years and walk away. I legit feel a deficit in my lifespan after last year especially. I’m feeling like a stretched too far hair tie when the elastic is clearly broken but we just pretend that it still works perfectly.

Yeah, like that.

So I’m trying to figure out financially what’s possible and then after a year or so of nothingness but granting my within-budget heart’s desire, what then? What will make me happy and fulfilled. What level of financial freedom will I have? What’s next?

And how does Hope figure into the plan? Will she be able to create a fully independent life? What other things can I do now to help her scaffold and construct her adult life

So there’s quietly a lot going on over here. Hope is doing well, getting a job really helps emotionally. And I’m just figuring out just what I went thru last year and how do I recover and regain my confidence. It’s easy to say I wouldn’t do xx again when you couldn’t think of anything better so…?

So anyway, I’m ok. We’re ok. We survived together.

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Things I Got So Wrong

Of course, I’ve worked hard to be a good parent, but like so many there are countless things I have done, still do, and probably forever will do wrong.

And by wrong, I mean, I effed up, and added more trauma and drama to the mix. I did my best with what I knew at the time, but like many things, more days of living leads to more knowledge–usually about the ways you effed up, but still more knowledge.

I came across this video on TikTok recently.

Whew, was I hit in the gut. Now, this wasn’t my consistent approach to parenting, but from the start, Hope leveraged illness as a way to get attention. We were regulars at the local hospital ER and at the urgent care when I could not continue to justify the $100 hospital co-pay and additional doctor bills.

It was almost always a stomach ache that triggered the visits. Consistently, the diagnosis was dehydration or no diagnosis at all. It was always an unfulfilling medical visit–for her, no diagnosis meant no sympathy attention and for me no diagnosis meant here we go again.

I’m a GenXer with numerous medical conditions that I just grin and bear it through. I admit, like the video–I have adapted to my limitations, accepted them, and found ways around them. I could never understand why Hope wouldn’t just push through.

Eventually, it became easier to dismiss the tummy ache or encourage her to shake it off. Then she actually had kidney stones, but she was unwilling to make a few modifications to prevent future attacks. It was frustrating–she was finally legitimately sick and wouldn’t do anything to help herself.

Then the pandemic hit and drove through the two of us like a buzzsaw. So many traumatic things have happened during these three years; ironically none of them were COVID-related. She got very sick a few times during this time and tests revealed some truly serious medical issues. I was always frustrated because Hope was unwilling to pursue treatments, and of course, I took that to mean maybe it wasn’t so bad.

But it was. All of it fed into our upheaval this year, and I bear the bulk of the guilt around why. Try as I might, I wasn’t able to consistently be the mom she needed. I was dismissive. I couldn’t understand why she couldn’t meet the challenges. I was angered by her refusal to see her part in her health improvement.

She made a few videos about me and my lack of empathy, which initially made me double down in my own foolishness. Now, many months later, I see my own role in our struggles so differently.

I thought I was meeting her where she was, but I wasn’t. The expectations were definitely not aligned with her capacity levels. Not at all. I kick myself often about how I stopped taking her complaints seriously and then wasn’t able to respond the way she needed. Sure, she was trying to get my attention with the medical shenanigans, but I was so wrong to expect her to behave completely rationally when she was really testing my ability and willingness to embrace her as she was and is. And, well, those tests were completely rational to her.

I’ve been working on my own alignments this last month in particular. It’s like I had some awakenings on things that just were not working in my parenting. It’s all resulted in a nice list of things to work on in therapy, like why does that attention-seeking behavior trigger me so? What daily things can I do to reduce her need for such behavior?

Even with Hope being a young adult; I’m still actively parenting. I’m realizing that there was a part of me that assumed the heavy lift would be over with Hope nicely ensconced in college somewhere. I did so much of my growing away from my parents’ watchful eyes while away at school. Hope is home; I’m seeing it all from the front row. It’s difficult to know when to intervene and when not to because the “adulting” line can be so murky at this age. It’s like jumping into a double dutch jumping session; and I have trouble jumping rope with one rope, much less two.

I’m continuing to work on being a better parent and I’m fortunate that Hope notes my efforts; even when I fail miserably, which is invariably often. All these years later, I’m still figuring this parenting thing out. I’m hopeful that I will continue to grow and break cycles of dysfunction for myself and my daughter. None of this is easy, but it is necessary.

Onward.


Turning the Corner

We seem to have really, genuinely turned the corner at Casa d’ABM! I lowkey had kinda lost hope that we would ever get back to some semblence of normalcy around here after so much drama this year.

And yet we have.

After so many months of festering anger, bickering, fighting, crying and so much more, Hope and I are clawing our way to our version of normal. And it feels so good.

You barely remember how gloriously boring normal is unless you’ve been mired in conflict for so long. I finally feel like I can breathe.

It’s been a few weeks since Hope finally seemed to emotionally regulate. I’m not fooling myself into believing all the angsty, emotional feelings are gone, but it seems she has a much better handle on things these days.

In fact, she recently decided to try out some medication. She hasn’t agreed to therapy yet, but I’m totally gassed up that she was able to decide that she needed some help through medication. I am optimistic that a return to therapy will happen in time.

Moving out has been removed from the discussion now. She’s not ready, not to mention she’s still unemployed. The skill set just isn’t there yet. She’s also been able to better articulate what’s overwhelming her. What I’m trying to say is, I finally see effort from her. That effort is allowing me to stretch a lot more than I’ve been willing to in recent months.

It also means I’m able to make some holiday decisions and move forward with other plans I need to make about 2023. These last few months just made me feel trapped with respect to planning things for next year. I finally feel like I can plan without upsetting her in ways that will set us back.

The big lesson learned: connection. It always comes back to connection. More than anything, Hope wants to feel connected and accepted as she is. I know that there will be more boundary pushing, but I think I’m a bit better equipped to handle it now.

My biggest hope for 2023 at this point is for Hope to fully embrace needing help with some things, that neither of us feel trapped in a toxic cycle, and that we will continue to work to be our version of normal and something akin to happy.

That still feels like a lot to hope for. The pain and trauma of this year are real, and my heart still hurts a lot. But I do have hope for the direction we’re headed in. And for now, that’s a good thing.


Ugh

Does everything feel hard to you?

Just me? Huh…

Everything is hard.

My respite in the Bahamas was short-lived. I was back in the office last week and feel like I’ve been on the usual rollercoaster ever since.

Hope basically kept the house and Yappy in order while I was away, but something just felt…off when I got home. The energy in the house hasn’t been good since the beginning of the pandemic, but there were all sorts of little things around the house that didn’t seem quite right when I returned. I just let it go and pressed forward because, really, what else am I going to do?

The moving-out deadline looms, and it’s freaking me out. Hope remains unemployed and unmotivated. We are currently in the very slow-moving car crash. Like, you can see it happening. This week the psychiatrist asked if I would be willing to put a pause on things. It was hard, but I said no, not without some kind of effort from Hope.

I take no pleasure in how all of this is shaking out. I’m miserable, totally and utterly miserable. And I’m realizing that everything is just feeling harder and harder to do every single day.

I’m scared that everything is going to fall apart, and that I don’t know how to stop it. I do not believe dropping the step-up or move-out requirement is going to change much at this point. I believe that we both need a lot of help and support, and we’re not getting those needs met. 1) They are hard needs to meet,2) getting the help and support we need is hard to access even with resources and 3) Hope is resistant to help. It’s all making me an increasingly nervous wreck.

I managed to make an appointment with a psychiatrist for me this week. It’s been a while in the making, and now I just have to wait two effing months before I can go. Fun times. I plan to call my own primary care doc by the end of this week to see if I can get another medication bump in the meantime. I am miserable.

Communication in the house is still tip-toe driven. And I’m constantly facing what feels like quiet resistance from Hope. It feels like we are utterly light years away from the close relationship we once had. Occasionally I’ll see glimmers of it, but it’s largely hidden.

I just want to see my daughter fully functional, able to better self-manage, emotionally regulate, and maybe, just maybe happy. I haven’t given up hope and I never will, but it just seems so impossible to achieve at this point. I know this moment will pass, but it would be really nice to know when.


Recovering


I’m currently in the Islands boozing with wild abandon…and then falling asleep on the beach.
I’m grateful to my mom friend who reminded me that I suggested we take a trip for some R&R about 2 months ago. I needed this. The pandemic has thrown off my vacation schedule, which has historically been March, July for family visits, and October.

For the past two years of pandemic travel, I’ve only ventured to Mexico and the Caribbean. I think I’m ready to resume wider travel in 2023.
But given the traumas of the summer I needed this reset.

Parenting has been a relative challenge. This chapter of ushering Hope into young adulthood has weathered me, and that’s saying something because the previous 2 years have also been doozies. I just want to get to some sense of normalcy again.

In good news, Hope has finally emotionally regulated a lot in the last month or so. She’s also coming to a place where she might be willing to seek counseling and meds—cross your fingers and say prayers folks. We *might* be on the verge of of a breakthru! She still hasn’t expressed any interest in renegotiating terms for moving out or staying at the end of the year. Pride cometh before the fall.

Yeah, yeah, I’ll be here to catch her.

I worry about her a lot. More than I thought was possible sometimes. I want so much for her, and I know she feels betrayed by my decision that she will need to move out. I’m realizing as we come closer to the deadline that not only is she not ready—she’s not even close. She got a job with Shipt some time ago, but never actually did any shopping or deliveries. When I asked her about it, she said she had so many questions about grocery shopping that she was just overwhelmed.

Yeah, it’s been rare that she’s joined me to do the household shopping. An occasional trip to Costco or Walmart does not give you the life skills to buy other people groceries—even with their list. She’s never made a delivery.


In any case, I know that the realization of adulting is starting to sink in, and it’s not pretty. Hell, I hate adulting myself. Bills, work, responsibilities! It’s a lot!


The last month also found me spiraling from a breakup I didn’t see coming at all. I’m devastated. I’m past the crying—which I didn’t do much of, but the questions, the rationale, the sadness…yeah, I’m still in the thick of it.


And then there’s work…whew. DEI work in the last, what 7ish years, has been brutal. Since that buffoon announced he was running for office, my work has required so much more of me. And bless your hearts White folks…seriously, if you ever considered yourself an ally to any marginalized groups, please go get your people together. I’ve got 10 more years of work before I can retire comfortably and deaing with White folk foolishness is just…whew…never-ending. I love my work, but real talk, I can honestly say I haven’t *liked* it in over 5 years. Working against oppression is effing exhausting.


So, beach time has been a nice balm to my latest emotional upheavals.


I head back to reality in a couple of days. Somehow, I’ve got a presentation due. Two dog sweaters (because somewhere along the way I had the brilliant idea to open an Etsy shop in honor of Yappy), a new order just came in and a zillion other projects that seemed like a good idea, but are now just feeling like time sucks.
I’ll also be calling the doc for a referral to a medication check in and also stepping up my exercise. The stress has done a number on my body and I need to get that under control as well. No joy in retiring early if I’m hobbling around.


I’m also going to start looking at dates to see if I can swing working remotely from the Caribbean for a month or two in 2023. I want to get a taste of my retirement fantasy and also explore some properties. I want to switch up my lifestyle a bit, and it just sounds like a radical thing to just pick up and move for a month and try it out. Just gotta figure out how to bring Yappy!


Anyway, back to the sunbathing.


Onward

It’s the day after Labor Day in the US, and that marks the beginning of fall. It’s my least favorite season. I mean, I love the clothing evolution–booties and cozy sweaters–but emotionally it tends to be one of my most challenging times of any year.

Despite my best efforts, I usually succumb to depression by the time winter rolls in. I’m kinda nervous because I know I’m already a bit down, so it’s going to take extra effort and intention not to fall down the rabbit hole.

I kinda chuckle at the irony of needing to fight depression, when the absolutely LAST thing you feel like doing when you’re depressed is to fight anything. It’s just so much easier to lay down into it.

But, I’m pushing forward and creating some things to look forward to and work on.

I relaunched my little crochet Etsy storefront–I sell sweaters, blankets, and other handmade items for dogs/cats. I also do baby blankets on commission as well.

I’ve initiated a modest master bath renovation. I’m costing it out and of course “modest” is really, really subjective. The highlight of the upgrades is an electric bidet on a “comfort height” toilet. Seriously, I’ve had a non-electric one for years and love it, but I DESERVE less of a squat, heated water, and warm air on my aging tushie.

I’ve scheduled a beach trip for next month, and if I can get my Mr. to take a few days off, I’m hoping we can do a long weekend in a glamping situation.

I’m also trying to pull myself together to modestly increase my workouts, schedule massages, and check out a local stretching studio. (If you are on Fitbit, hit me up. I’m all about the weekly challenges!)

I’m trying y’all. I’m doing what I can to keep my head up.

And yet, things still are what they are in terms of the home. I miss the way things were with Hope. I hate that we have this conflict that has cracked us apart. Last week in therapy I started out saying, “Hey, I think I’m doing ok; I seem to have a handle on things.”

Narrator: And then she cried for an hour.

The grief is just overwhelming sometimes. I’m constantly hoping on the 3 days I go into the office, that things will be and feel different at home when I return. They don’t.

I know some of this is growing pains. I know that some of it is the long tenacles of trauma–hers and mine. I know some of this is untreated mental health. I know some of it is both of us being headstrong and deeply, deeply hurt.

I’ve written many times about being a fixer. Daily, I have to talk myself down from *fixing* us. I know that this is something I can’t fix. I know that all the things I would usually do to fix things will not work; they would potentially make things easier in the short term, but I doubt a “fix” would hold more than a few days. I also know that “fixing” things would mean that I would have to go back on my word; I know for a variety of reasons that would not help things in the long haul.

So, while I grieve the loss of the closeness I had with my daughter, I feel helpless too.

I anticipate that the intensity of these feels will only grow the closer we get to the end of the year. I seriously have no idea what will happen to us on New Years 2023. I do not know if Hope will be ready to move out. She has made it clear she doesn’t want to discuss it, so it just looms over us…kind of like a guillotine. And it makes me feel guilty, not because I do not believe the consequences are appropriate. No, I feel guilty because I fear she really isn’t ready and that she is willing failure to prove to both of us that all she’s capable of. I stay researching alternatives, solutions that will head us off to a different resolution.

And yet, I know that the course we are on…is what it is right now. I’m really trying to be helpful, loving, affirming and a believer in her capacity to do great things. I know she can, but I don’t know if she knows she can.

So, another week has passed. There are other updates, but they aren’t mine to share. I can say that I know that Hope has had great opportunities for explanation and healing of past trauma recently. I’m hopeful that seeds are planted and that they will bloom in the coming months. I’m hopeful for the continued sense of peace, or at least detente, in our home. I’m hopeful for a lot right now.

So, for this week, the motto is simply: Onward.


Nothing New

Not much has changed around the house.

Not much has changed between me and Hope. We are polite, sometimes almost close to lovingly so. We might occasionally laugh about something together; I live for those moments. I feel like they give me a peek into the good times. I usually choke back a few tears when we laugh together or she wants to tell me something. We both have some very clear boundaries that we have quietly constructed. I give hers extra wide berth, while she likes to nudge mine just to see how far she can go.

I’m doing more cooking than I have in a long time. I cook on the weekends so there are options until about Thursday. I really cook for Hope. I might get a spoonful or bowl full when I’m cooking, but I generally will have smoothies, cereal, yogurt, bread, etc all week. I am only this week realizing how obsessive I’ve become about this weekend cooking ritual. Clearly some emotional stuff happening there. I also just know that I unconsciously increased the amounts I’m cooking It’s wild.

I wish things were different. I wish Hope truly believed and understood that we are forever. I wish after all these years she could enjoy some peace in permanence. I believe that there were many authentically joyful times, but I also believe her when she says it was fleeting or an act to meet what she thought were my expectations. I wish things were different in so many ways.

In 125 days, everything changes. It may make things horribly worse or it could be the beginning of another beginning for Hope. Only time will tell. I daily caution myself not to think that far out. I know it will zoom here sooner than I’m willing to acknowledge.

I’m keeping the faith that something will change, something will change.

Cheers to the week.


Letting Go of the Wheel

This last week has been incredibly difficult. Without revealing too much, Hope and I had a substantial blowout, and her reaction to it set off a series of events that just have created what feels like a drama cycle that will never end.

Basically life is a shit show.

I have so many emotions. I ended up having 2 therapy sessions just so I could process my own shit after last weekend. Yesterday I realized that a lot of what I have been feeling can be best described as grief.

Grief is hella messy and can be an amalgamation of so many other feelings.

I am sad. I’m furious. I have regret. I have love. I care. I feel fragile. I am confused. I’m just a mess.

And despite her protests, so is Hope.

Although I’ve just tried to put on a brave face this week, the truth is I really am a mess.

One of the only things I can do is to let go, and my natural instinct is to coddle her, draw her close, hug her, care for her, and smooth the path for her; I’ve come to the chapter in parenting when I have to stop some of that. I have to let go of the wheel and let her drive.

At the moment it appears that she might purposely drive it into a ditch just to prove that she can, but she has to drive herself.

It’s hard. It hurts.

I’m here to catch her if she falls, but having to actually allow her to fall is so hard. So much of this life has been helping her progress towards adulthood and making it as smooth a process as possible. I feel like I failed.

I know I didn’t, but it really feels like I did.

You know those new NASA pictures, I want that for Hope.

Hope, I think, is just glad that she didn’t age out of foster care. It’s almost like this is a delayed reaction to coming of age. Also, it’s like she never allowed herself to dream or think about what she might want to do in this life.

Trauma is a bitch. Trauma did this.

I don’t know what the future holds for Hope and me. Things are serious enough that I’m considering ending our online story because it’s just too hard to write about. I have about 5 different versions of this post and none of them, not even this one, adequately captures my feelings and experiences of the last week.

I’m headed off to go see a friend for a bit because I need to get out of the house. Send Hope lots of good energy and positive vibes. We need them, but she needs them more.


I’m Trying

Last weekend Hope turned the magical age of 21. We were supposed to go to NYC to celebrate, but sadly, she got really sick, and we had to cancel. I hope we can go later this summer.

The good news: she didn’t have COVID.

The bad news: we don’t exactly know what she has. I suspect it was a case of the flu.

I can say that it was super gross. And when Hope gets sick, she really gets sick and she really gets dramatic.

I wish I could say that I turn into this mushy mom figure when she is sick, but I do not. Don’t get me wrong, I do what I can—try to get her to eat, to shower, to rest, manage symptoms, etc. But that sit at the bedside, Flo Nightingale stuff…no.

I’ll even admit that I struggle with leaning into the mushy mom troupe. I’m not that chick. I go into non-emotional mode because it’s a problem to be managed and/or fixed.

My ability to compartmentalize emotion is a handy skill in my line of work where a DEI professional being hyper emotional is just not going to work.

That skill for momming is problematic because Hope thinks I don’t care.

Additionally, Hope’s penchant for dramatizing her ailments has me usually thinking she’s crying wolf. There were times when we were regulars at the Patient First (after several expensive trips to the ER where NOTHING WAS WRONG! Some of Hope’s emotional challenges manifest psychosomatically, which really complicates things).

I absolutely do care, and I’ve improved in doing mushy stuff over the years. Sadly I think I’ve lost some of that ground though.  

I think I’ve backslid recently because the last 2.5 years have been exhausting in dealing with some of Hope’s shenanigans. Without telling all of our business there was a whole host of bad 19-20-something decisions that resulted in some unfortunate entanglements, health issues, law enforcement engagement, and more.

It’s a wonder I have anyblack hair left on my head. I don’t have much, and I figure in the next year to 18 months I will be completely grey at this rate.

During the height of our COVID drama I had to put my emotions on the shelf to just get through it. I just put those mushy feelings away and went about navigating us out of the dark forest.

Now, I’m realizing some of those emotions are kind of stuck on the shelf.

I’m exhausted.

My sisters and I left home at 18 and never returned to live at home—this being 20+ living at home is foreign to me. Sister K also has a 20-something living at home, and frankly, she’s as baffled as I am, just with a lot more emotion.

I find myself frustrated that Hope is chronologically 21 and emotionally 14, 15 at most. Bridging all that goes between those numbers is…a lot. It’s like she wants to go clubbing and she wants me to fix her baby food all at the same time. It’s dizzying, and I worry often that I just can’t do it. I do not have any effing idea how to parent through this. It’s like an uncontrollable roller coaster.

I know that I have unrealistic expectations; I’ve been spending the last few weeks of therapy really trying to get my brain on the same page as my parenting realities. When Hope actually was 14 and 15, I felt like I could really manage things better. At 21 she has access to sooooooo much more than I think she’s ready for, and the stakes seem so much higher and riskier. More than anything I want to protect her.

I also want to protect me.

I really feel somewhat powerless, and I don’t like the feeling. It’s not that I want to control her every move. On the contrary, I want her to be autonomous, to be free, but the trouble that she can get into feels so much more dangerous and life altering at this point. I hate rules, but I had to institute some this year because of poor decision making. Poor decisions at 14 and at 21…both are unpleasant, and both can have long consequences. But the reality is that I made it through the age 14, emotionally 7 period of poor decisions. Living through age 21, but emotionally 14 poor decisions feel a lot different.

To be truthful, Hope is a “good” kid, but she has triggers that just make her spiral and reliably do dumb shit.

And I’m older now. I don’t feel quite so resilient. I’m tired and a bit worn down. Worrying feels different. It’s exhausting.

My therapist gave me some homework and good friends have suggested I need some respite. Both are right. I’m working hard and will be trying to make some plans to get away.

I know Hope is also struggling and it is painful to know that I am not currently able to meet her where she is.

I’m trying, but it’s really hard. I am trying and I’ll keep trying tho.


Hat Pin Legacy

When I entered adulthood, my mom gave me a hat pin. I’m sure I put it somewhere super safe, which is code for do not ask me where said hat pin is!

Her mother, my grandmother, wore hat pins. As the story goes, back in the day–we’re talking 1930s/40s–hat pins were all the rage. Not only were they fashionable, but they were small weapons women could use to defend themselves against untoward behavior from men. You put them between your fingers and it’s rather hard to get away from you, but that pin can do a little damage.

The dude gets handsy, and you simply reach up, pull that pin, and poke them a few good times.

No more handsy.

So, my grandma told my mom, and my mom told me.

Now anyone who knows my mom also knows that she will try to stab with keys poked between fingers or whatever she might get her hands on. She’s a fan of the hat pin, even though I’m not sure I can ever recall her really wearing one. She doesn’t wear hats…but I digress.

She gave me a hat pin to potentially use as a weapon. I am the third generation of this hat pin saga, which I thought was pretty cool.

So, at some point, I told Hope about the hat pin. She thought it was absurd, really. And, she’s probably not wrong, nearly 100 years later, one might ask how effective might a hat pin really be at warding off an attacker.

During an outing to a jewelry show years ago, a vendor had lovely long hat pins and I decided to gift myself a new one and also get Hope her first pin. I made a big deal about it because it’s really a family tradition at this point. For Hope’s part, she was like, “Um, that’s cool; they are pretty.”

Fast forward a few years to this past weekend. Hope was showing me her outfit on Saturday as she was about to head out to her first Pride event with friends. She had on a black Pride tunic that was open in the front but closed with sexy safety pin closures–you could see her bra. She wore short biker shorts with black fishnets and boots. I had to remind myself that this ensemble was practically a church outfit compared to what would be visible out at the parade.

As she started getting her things together to head out; I asked all the usual mom questions about who are you going with, and what time can I expect her. I told her to be careful.

Hope: “Yeah, I’ve got my pepper spray and my pin.”

Me: “Pin?”

Hope: “Yeah, my hat pin.”

And there it was on her tunic: her hat pin. I didn’t even notice it because I was distracted because her bra was visible. But she had it on.

Y’all my daughter is one of the messiest, most disorganized people I know, but the hat pin I bought her years ago, what right here on her shirt, ready to be pulled out and used for getting stabby.

My voice hitched a little when I said goodbye.

A fourth-generation was stepping out with a hat pin ready to face the world.

It was so symbolic of our bond. A couple of days later, I still get misty about her wearing her pin. It was just such a surprise, a pleasant, loving surprise. It seems so silly, but that moment means so much to me.

It’s moments like these when I am reminded how fortunate I am that I get to parent Hope and that she accepts me as a mom. What I didn’t really allow myself to dream about was whether she would want to carry on some of our family traditions; to find that she embraces them…it was just a beautiful moment.


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