Starting Over at 56

Question: Dear Luise: Firstly, let me say that I don’t know who your are, (I just happened upon your site)but I know wisdom and common sense when I hear it; and from some of the responses that you have given to others I feel that you have both. I don’t have a question to ask as much as I have comments. My story like everyones’ has layers; and I just wanted to pull this particular one back: I have two adult children; a son who is 36 and a daughter who is 28.  They both have shown me extreme disrespect and hatred. I got married at 20 and by 25 was divorced; and was determined to raise my children on my own. As there was no male role model in the home; my son at 12 took to the street (gangs)  All of this broke my heart.  Yet I attempted to instill in him the correct way to live and look at life and did everything humanly possible to help him.  I was bombarded with the judicial system as my son was going through the juvenile court and jail systems;and then later it escalated to adult penal institutions. When he reached the age of 18 I told him that now that he was an adult I was not going to ‘run’ in the manner that I had done when he was a minor; so he needed to straighten up. I explained to him ad nauseum that the people that he was hanging out with were not his friends; and that when he was incarcerated the only people that cared about him, were I and his sister. He didn’t listen and continued to get in trouble and ended up doing various amounts of time behind bars.  I was true to my word, I did not coddle him; and only wrote if he wrote (which most of the time it was for money; which I did not have).  So he hates me; because I wasn’t ‘according to him’  the mother that he wanted me to be ie., running to the prison and sending money, and buying expensive clothing that I did not have to give him.  He never once stopped to think about how I was surviving out here by myself with his sister to care for. My daughter is 7 years younger than my son; and was being dragged to the juvenile court and adult courts with me when my son was getting in trouble.  She however, was a ‘good’ girl; never caused me any trouble, straight A student, national honor society etc. I did everything to support my children; and it was ‘hard’. The fathers (there were two, never did anything for them.  My son’s father never supported him in his juvenile travails or even gave him a pencil for school when he was a child and attending school; and the same was true for my daughter’s father.) They acted as though they did not have any children by with me; and seemed to want me to struggle.  But we always had a place to live, food to eat and they had decent clothing to wear. She (the daughter) went on to college, graduated; and then: I could see that she hated me! A lot has transpired; really too much to relate; however, I am at a place where I consider my ‘children’ to be my enemies and I truly hate them! I question a God that would allow all of this to happen to me; since He is supposed to be omniscient; and was there watching everything that I went through to parent these children.  I feel as if the most privileged honor, ‘parenthood’ was just a huge trick in my case. I devoted my entire adult life to my children and just knew that because they were a part of me, that they would be the best people; and now I have faced the reality that they are not nearly the best people that I thought and raised them to be; and that I will never get my time back. I have to now start from 56 to make the life for myself that I want and deserve to have; knowing that two people that I nourished in my body, and have given my entire adult life to, will never be a part of it again. They say to never say never; but I say never as the things that they have done to me are so shameful that I will(could) never trust them again. At 56 with a limited education (I have an associate’s degree, and a paralegal litigation certificate) I am struggling to take care of myself; and I do mean struggling! I can’t get a job; and am forced to rely on public assistance.  I really want my own business; but everything takes some startup money.   I would like to eventually get married again.(the first fiasco was not a marriage)  And in general enjoy my life. Marriage is not my top priority; but it is on the list.  My top priority is to take care of ME; as I have spent a lifetime taking care of ungrateful, hateful and spiteful children; and I deserve the life that I want. I love the advice that you gave to someone who was heart broken about her relationship with her adult children, when you said, (and I am paraphrasing) that, “you basically have to go on”. I also agreed with the advice that you gave the woman who was told that it was all right to cut the son out of her will that was’ greedy and dishonest’. I so appreciate your honesty to us mothers who have been sorely disappointed with our children.  Please continue to tell the truth with the compassion and strength that you do it with. S.

Dear S.: There have been times when I have looked at childless women with longing. I know my sons would not like to hear that but at the same time I know they have looked at other kids mothers with longing because they had the temerity to tell me that they did.

You gave it your best shot. That’s it. That’s all you have to give.

From my perspective…(age 83)…starting over at 56 holds a lot of promise. I hope you find peace, expression, and fulfillment. And while I’m at it…I hope a great guy is in the mix. I remarried and created a wonderful new life for myself at 62. 🙂

If you are interested, I think you would fit right in on my Web-forum: Please take a look. There are a lot of women there who are rebuilding their lives when they had thought it was all over. They share issues, many involving adult children, and give each other great support. Wisdom and compassion are rampant. See you? Blessings, Luise

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