A Visit from My Daughter: The Worn-Carpet Treatment


I’m trying to get my thoughts together about my daughter’s visit, without crying about the fact that she’s gone. It was just so incredible having her (and her friend) here. For six blissful days, the house was full of life, laughter and girliness. For six days, Tom hid out, half out of courtesy, half in self-defense from the elevated hormone levels in the house.

For six days, I got to be a mom. I got to hear stories of teenager-ism. I got to see them in action. It was fantastic.

My daughter and her friend are nocturnal creatures. They also apparently require about ten hours of sleep a night, so the only way to see them was to stay up into the wee hours, then snooze much of the day away. I was sleep deprived and ecstatically happy the entire week. When I couldn’t stand it anymore, I brought them coffee and nudged them out of their comas, and they’d begin the day at about 2:00 p.m.

The girl child is 5’2″ and weighs in at about 104 pounds. She resembles a tiny little anime character, or a little punk fairy. What she lacks in size, she makes up for in attitude, but beneath the bleached hair, the kohl eyeliner and facial piercings, hides an incredibly sweet, gentle soul. A few times, she’d come and sit on my lap just to snuggle and talk. We needed that desperately. She no longer lives with me, because she prefers the Arkansas town that was slowly suffocating me to the big Ohio city (Columbus) that was terrifying her. I don’t blame her. Her father and brother and all of her childhood friends live there, and although I was a fish out of water during my prison term years there, it’s still her shimmering pond.

So we live apart. We talk several times a week, but it’s not the same. I can’t see her smile via telephone. I can’t take care of her when she’s sick. I can’t nurture her over a cappuccino when she’s had a bad day, or tie her to a chair leg until she rethinks her tattoo decisions. I can’t “mom” her. She looks tired to me, and frail. She works and goes to school and gets little sleep. She commutes from her job in the city to her little trailer in the country, and walks three-quarters of a mile down a dirt road in the dark each weekday morning (at 6 a.m.) to ride a bus for an hour to her rural school, where she fits in like a porcupine at a balloon festival. I want to fix things for her, help make her life easier, but she seems happy with what she’s doing. She relishes her independence.

I soaked up my time with her like an ocean sponge. I was the ambassador of my crummy city, driving them around, pointing out the bright spots amid the dilapidation. We cranked up David Bowie and sang at the tops of our lungs, my daughter reaching over and holding my hand as we took our aimless tour.

“Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes…”

Initially, I was embarrassed about my fibromyalgia and my currently reduced circumstances (past visits have included mall excursions and intense spoiling), but my visiting dignitaries didn’t seem to mind, so I soon got over it. I cooked like crazy, trying to provide nourishment for girls who’d rather socialize than eat. They loved it. It had obviously been a long time since they’d had a home-cooked meal, and I think my daughter enjoyed saying, “Mommy? Will you make me some _____ (fill in the blank)?” I brewed her hot tea, fussed over her and gave her a million hugs.

As promised, I took them to get their belly buttons pierced. I’m sorry to report that I embarrassed them to death. I’d never been inside a tattoo/piercing studio before, and it was fascinating. I never thought I’d say this, but I loved the guy who punctured their bellies, and felt that their navels were in good hands. I asked a million questions, all of which he patiently and enthusiastically answered. We sort of bonded, and the girls crushed on him a little. He was adorable. I wanted to ask him how he applied his eyeliner so expertly, or if the gigantic, triangle-shaped holes in his earlobes hurt, and I think it’s a testament to my willpower that I didn’t. Still, the girls were a bit mortified by my line of questioning, but afterward my daughter told her friend philosophically, “I kind of knew what I’d be getting into by bringing my mom.” For several days afterward, they sat looking at their bellies, admiring the new barbells that jutted from that place that used to connect them to their mothers.

My daughter cut my hair. A ton of it, hunks of which she handed me as she gleefully whacked more off. Tom loves it, and so do I, only it’s a LOT shorter than I’m used to. I also think the back’s a little uneven, but I don’t care, since I can’t see that part. She spoke to me patiently of “training” my hair, instructed me in the proper use of a straightening iron, and encouraged me to use various crap products to keep it from wiggling and frizzing (but I like my wiggles and frizzes).

We played Boggle for hours, visited a nearby college town, window shopped, ate burgers and walked around. We listened to music and browsed bad tattoo sites online. We went to the library and rented movies. I gave them free reign of my art cabinet, and they drew and painted and relaxed. They devoured an entire box of Private Crunch cereal, and gave Tom’s cat a lot of TLC.

We exchanged gifts. My daughter brought me a picture, a semi-self portrait that she’d drawn one night while we were talking on the phone. And she left me her David Bowie CD as a parting gift. I gave her my amazing flopping fish salt and pepper shakers (which I’ll tell you about later) and a signed and numbered photo of a ring-necked pheasant.

Yesterday morning, I drove them to the bus station at 5:30 a.m. so that they could make the eighteen-hour ride home. My daughter told me to just drop them off at the curb, so of course I went inside. Every head in the place turned as these two gorgeous, wild-looking girls entered the building. “Watch out for weirdos,” I whispered to them, sort of ironically.

I feel incredibly honored that they made this trip to see me. I treasured every moment. Okay, I’m crying now, and it’s hard to see the screen. Sorry if this is sort of melancholy, but I miss them already.

The “semi-self portrait” that my daughter brought me. She had trouble with the mouth, so this was her solution. The quote says:

“One should never trust a woman who tells her real age. A woman who would tell one that, would tell one anything.”–Oscar Wilde

She’s seventeen.

48 thoughts on “A Visit from My Daughter: The Worn-Carpet Treatment

  1. mycraftyways says:

    Hi,
    I stumbled on your post and couldn’t not read it until the very last word.
    I’m crying too now.
    I’m not a mom, not a seventeen girl either.
    I’m a 3O years old daughter who lives 10 000km and some more from her mom.
    So I can’t really say I understand what you feel…but somehow I do.
    What a fantastic week you must have had ! I feel so happy for you all !
    No matter the distance, the never ending bus drives, there’s always an itching navel that calls for its originating place !

    Thank you for sharing such a special week…!

  2. cantueso says:

    The drawing is very very good, and your story about their visit is, too. Yet the drawing is special, and since I have come a long way without ever flattering anybody, I would not start now. It is incredibly well done, those big eyes really looking and thinking. I can’t think of another portrait where the eyes are so evidently looking and thinking. I have loaded it down to ask somebody who really knows about painting.

    Yes, the story, but now I have loaded on enough praise. — Have you seen David’s latest about Oliver at http://davidlevine.wordpress.com/? I am telling you in case now, with the kids gone, you would need to see some smiley reportage.

  3. Adam says:

    I’m so happy that you had a great time!

    Cherish every moment, savor every memory, and look forward to that bright day when she will come again!

  4. Abbe says:

    God, I miss my mother!

    Thanks for sharing this MB. So glad you had a great visit…cherish each of those moments…I guarantee you that she will!

    Abbe

  5. Hi there,
    I read your blog all the time but rarely comment. It’s wonderful to hear how close you are to your daughter and how much fun you had with here and her friend. Visits from someone we are close to are great but they are also exhausting. Don’t get me wrong when I say they are worth the world but I’m currently recovering from a visit by a treasured friend. FWIW, once again, I overdid it and a fibromyalgia flare-up is what I’m coping with now.

  6. CuriousC says:

    AAaaaaahhhhHH, love your words. :) I miss her already, too. So glad you had a fab time, but of course you would. The portrait is incredible.

  7. @ mycraftyways: Your comments made me boohoo almost as writing the post did!
    I’m so glad you stopped by.

    @ cantueso: A compliment from you is a rare and wonderful thing. I love my daughter’s style of painting and drawing. It reminds me of Tim Burton’s films. I don’t think you’re familiar with them, but some titles are “Edward Scissorhands” and “Beetlejuice.” They have kind of a gothic feel to them.

    I did see David’s photos, and they cheered me up. Haven’t commented yet– sometimes it takes me a day or so to be able to form actual sentences :)

    @ Adam: Thanks– I do! I will! I am!

    @ Abbe: We had such a great time. Thank you so much!

    @ brightfeather: I love it when you do comment (I’m the same way though). For some reason, with this visit, I started out exhausted and hurting, and started feeling so much better as it progressed. I think I used up all my stress in the preparation!

    I hope your flare doesn’t last much longer. Spring is in the air, and that helps a lot!

    @ C: Thank you! It was wonderful! (((Hugs)))

  8. kaylee2 says:

    ohhh my god!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! moonbeam that made me cry! it brings back too many memories of me and my real mom before she went insane and decided she hated me :(

    i am glad that you guys had fun and your daughter fdrew that?

  9. Little Miss says:

    I am soooo very happy to hear of your wonderful, exquisite, full of joy and love visit that you had with your daughter. And what talent she has in her artwork. I adore that picture. Geez, she’s talented. Doesn’t fall far from the tree, now, does she? <> and here’s to hoping that there’s very little, if any, of a flareup for you. Maybe the intoxication of the visit will keep you floating along flare-free for a long, long while.

  10. @ kaylee: Oh no! I’m sorry I made you cry. I do that sometimes, as anyone who reads this blog will tell you :(

    As we’ve discussed, the ONLY way your mother could hate you is if she were insane. There’s no way any normal mother wouldn’t love you to pieces.

    Yes, my daughter drew it. You like?

    @ LM: Thanks! She is talented (in my very biased opinion) in a lot of ways. Just a really creative person. And thanks for your good wishes. I keep having these little crying bursts when I think of her, but they go away quickly. I’m just delighted that she was here.

  11. kaylee2 says:

    can you talk today at all? lol i love it :P

  12. joanharvest says:

    I almost feel guilty for being able to live with my daughter, probably for the rest of my life. I can’t even imagine how you must be feeling. I love the way she sat on your lap and snuggled. That invisible umbilical cord will always be there. I can feel it with my son. I haven’t seen him in almost three months. He’s 26 and sometimes still calls me Mommy.

    I also love her self portrait. It’s all in her eyes.

    I’m so happy you got to spend the week with her and have such a good time.

  13. thegirlfromtheghetto says:

    Aw, man, it’s too bad she doesn’t live so far away. I love a girl who is an individual. Love her self portrait, too. And you always have fun posts about her. I’m happy for you and your wonderful almost week with your girl. And congrats on getting a fun new haircut!!!

  14. @ kaylee: I’ll be over in just a minute, as soon as I answer Joan’s comment. :)

    @ joan: You are so lucky! You and your daughter have such a great relationship. I swear, I never got it when parents were so excited about their kids leaving the nest.

    It was a wonderful time, and she says she’s coming back in the summer!

    I love her self-portrait too. She calls it her “semi-self portrait” because it doesn’t look exactly like her, but it’s awfully close. Thanks!

  15. @ ghetto girl: Thank you! She is SUCH an individual! Hardheaded, too. It usually serves her well. We had the best time, and she did a great job on my hair! Now if I can just train it (I’m hair styling impaired)…

  16. Wendy says:

    This was so sweet and lovely. Thanks for sharing her visit with us. I love her drawing, she’s so talented and endearing. Guess we know where she gets it from, huh?

  17. Maxine says:

    I see that talent runs in the family.

    So does that punk attitude. You’re more Debbie Harry than you realize, woman.

  18. romi41 says:

    This was such a heartwarming recap! I loved the girly-time descriptions, and the singing in the car, and the eating great food, and the belly-piercing excursion (LOL, am I going on and on?)…you might not get to see your daughter everyday, but you’re a mom through-and-through, and it’s lovely! :-)

    PS: you have an art cabinet?? Why are you so wicked? ;-)

  19. @ Wendy: She’s my angel. And thanks– yes, the good genes are all mine. :)

    @ Maxine: That’s such a sweet compliment.

    With my new shorter hair, maybe more like Debbie Harry’s brother.

    Well…it’s not that short. It hit my shoulders, barely.

    @ Romi: I’m glad you liked it. Sigh…it was so much fun. I do have an art cabinet. Two in fact. Do I utilize them? NO. Not nearly enough.

  20. thebeadden says:

    Thanks for letting us in on your week! Your writing makes one feel like they are a part of it. I am an adult and still love the time I spend with my Mom. We used to see eachother at least 4 times a week, and then she moved out of town. I miss her everyday.

    It sounds like you have a wonderful relationship with your daughter! And she’s quite the artist!

  21. @ thebeadden: I’m glad you feel like you were a part of our week!

    My mother did the same thing– we hung out together all the time, then she had the nerve to move away.

    I love my relationship with my daughter. Even when things aren’t flowing smoothly (like when I freak out because she’s getting a tattoo), it always feels like a gift.

  22. mittins says:

    this was like reading a nice long cuddle. what a goody you are !

  23. @ mittins: It takes a goody to know one.

  24. betme says:

    Aw Moonbeam, you have left me with tears flowing down my cheeks. That was so beautiful. I am sending happy thoughts and wishes for many, many, many more weeks such as this for you.

  25. Red says:

    Aw, McQueenie .. what a wonderful post after an amazing visit. Im sure you’ll remember this for years to come. It’s so great they the two of ya have such a great relationship .. it’s one that you can feel through your writing.
    The artwork she gave you is out-freakin’-standing, and Im sure you’re a proud PROUD Mama for it, and for what and who your daughter has grown to be.

  26. gypsy-heart says:

    A wonderful magical week you had together!

    Her energy feels as you said “a sweet, gentle soul,” but I also feel a great strength there too! You know I am into narrative self portraits so it goes without saying I adore her self portrait! The quote was so perfect!

    I am sending you heart energy…I truly understand how you feel now. My son…lived with his Father for some of the same reasons.

    Take care of yourself! :)

  27. Lucky says:

    I’m glad you had such a great visit! She sounds like a fantastic and very interesting person!

    I LOVE her art. It’s amazing. VERY talented.

    Speaking of…when will we see your art? I know you said it sucks but I don’t believe that. I wanna see it!! :o)

  28. @ betme: Thank you so much!!!! I read your ad for your son– if she was just a little older, and a little less pierced…. I don’t know how they’d get along, but I’d love having you as an in-law!

    @ Red: So sweet. This is why when I read your posts about your daughter, it’s always so familiar– I think you two have the same type of relationship.

    @ gypsy-heart: I love your comments- thank you! She is SO unbelievably strong. Almost too much so, I sometimes think.

    I love the self-portrait too– it’s hanging on my wall by my desk.

    @ Lucky: Thank you! Kind of like your visit with your grandma, only slower paced!

    Um…I’m having a bit of an art crisis. Maybe I’ll post some of it sometime, but I doubt it. My self-esteem is suffering enough these days!

  29. betme says:

    ummmm, maybe we can still pull this off. I have handsome 19yr old and 17yr old sons as well. Gosh, they would all be cringing if they knew that I am offering them out on the web. :D

  30. kaylee2 says:

    how you doing today?

  31. @ betme: My daughter would be mortified too, but who can blame us for planning for the future?

    @ (((kaylee))): Hi! I’m doing fine. I’ll try to hop over to your site later this evening to find out how your day went.

  32. alyssasudds says:

    Awww Im happy for you that you had a chance to spend some time with your daughter. She’s a great artist.

  33. @ alyssasudds: Thanks. It was wonderful!

  34. rick mobbs says:

    your daughter has a gift for art. is she a painter?

  35. @ rick: Hi! I think she does too. She paints, she draws, but she says she’ll never do it as a career because she thinks she has no talent. I think otherwise, and apparently so do several people who read this blog, which is really nice.

    Coming from you, the compliment means a lot. Maybe you and your wife can train her!

  36. trishatruly says:

    Pats on the back, “Mom” for helping to create such a great daughter! You are lucky to have such a wonderful person in your life.

    Great writing! Great Blog! I am a huge fan

    Trisha

  37. @ trishatruly: I am lucky!

    Thank you so much for making your way here, and for your comments.. Betme gave me the link to your blog, and I’ve really been enjoying it!

  38. Loved this post, Moonbeam.

    It was a very personal and touching picture of love between a mother and daughter. Thanks for sharing it.

  39. writerchick says:

    Wow Queenie, that was like an Anna Quinlan novel. I’m so happy that you got that precious time with your girl. I can only imagine how hard it must be to have living so far away from you. But isn’t it wonderful how real love and connection keeps us pinned together no matter how far apart we are?

    Hugs,
    Annie

  40. talea says:

    Awwww, I read this right after I posted my ‘my parents and I have to see each other in a month and I’m dreading it’ post. Which makes me feel only more like a horrid daughter.
    But really, it sounded like such fun. It sounded like a time where you realize that what you’re doing is just what you’re supposed to be doing and that happiness is attainable with very little in the way of ‘things’ and ‘stuff’.
    I’m sure your daughter adores you for being such a very cool mom.

  41. rick mobbs says:

    Don’t know about training anyone but would be happy to hear from her. I do think she has a gift. A big one, too, I imagine. I would like to see more of her work. painterATrickmobbs.com

  42. @ TPB: I’m glad you liked it, Miss Barbie!

    @ Annie: It was such a great visit. We needed that time to reconnect because you’re right, the distance is hard. But yes, we’re definitely pinned. Now I have to go look up what Anna Quinlan’s written!

    Hugs back to you.

    @ talea: You are NOT a horrid daughter. Your mother sounds scary, and it’s extremely difficult dealing with scary parents (I had one).

    Our visit was great, and what you wrote describes it perfectly. I think she adores me, but at this age, “endures” might be more accurate!

  43. @ rick: I think we were cross commenting there.

    I’ll let her know, and I’ll pass your words (and URL) along to her. She’s about to graduate and isn’t too sure about her direction (who is at seventeen?). Maybe she’ll consider art after all. Thanks!

  44. David says:

    Enjoyed this post a lot moonbeam. Another bittersweet MMQsterpiece! Thank you.

    I was hoping that you’d have a nice time with your daughter. I’m also impressed with her art vision. The eyes, as cantueso says, and the way she lettered the [creepy] Oscar Wilde quote. I like the little x-dots and the way she makes her Ss cant forward. She has a cute little typeface there! Guess she got some creativity from the mom :-)

  45. @ David: I’m so happy to see you here! The visit was fantastic. She does have her own little goth typeface, doesn’t she?

  46. [...] my daughter’s recent visit, she looked around the house, noticing the various treasures scattered throughout our spacious [...]

  47. MacKenzie says:

    i was searching for pictures of piercings when i stumbled upon this.
    i found it funny because i just visited my dad with my new belly button piercing and we played boggle and i slept all day and stayed up all night and he woke me up with coffee alot. haha.

  48. AC says:

    You were so lucky to get a visit.
    My daughter travels all over the world, goes to friend’s weddings, funerals, and trips for fun.
    But, she never has time to visit me.
    She’s 23.
    I think by the time she realizes how much she will miss me, I’ll be dead and gone.

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