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My Daughter Is A Mess, What Do I Do? {what got me through}

I have five children. Five wonderful, awful, beautiful children. They range from the age of twenty-three to seven. Four of these kids are boys and I have one little -- who is now not so little-- daughter, and we’ll call her Kelly.

This little girl of mine has been her own person since day one. At the age of one, when I was working full time, my babysitter came to me and said she couldn’t watch Kelly anymore. This babysitter had watched my son, but Kelly was not him. She was her own person and she could not just be "fed, bundled up and put to bed.” She was who she was and she needed attention. I was able to find her another sitter-- A neighbor who loved her like she was her own. This woman had lost a little girl and was so happy to have the chance to take care of another little girl. She loved my daughter like she was her own, and my daughter knew it.

We moved several more times over the years with one being right at the time she was to start High School. This was a difficult transition for her and she really struggled. It has always been hard for Kelly to make friends. She is a bit standoffish and is afraid of opening up to others because that makes her feel vulnerable.

As her mom, I get it. I’m much the same way.

She found a good friend in our ward and we were excited because we thought this meant that her high school experience was going to be a great one. However, this was not the case. This young woman, who was her friend at church, was not her friend at school and would ignore her. This left my daughter feeling very hurt, vulnerable and left her open to that group of kids who will take in anyone. You know the ones who accept all people, because they are not accepted? Those were the kids who befriended my daughter.

Her grades started to go down because she and her new group of “friends” were skipping too much school.

We got a boundary variance and moved her to a different High School hoping that this would help her solve some issues. She knew kids at this new High School and her Dad and I were hopeful that she would make new friends that would help her to be stronger and make better choices. However, things just kept getting worse for her. Her friends were not a good influence on her, her grades were awful and she was failing eight classes.

My Daughter Is A Mess, What do we do? We had hoped that she would get new friends at church, but this didn’t happen either.

How do I explain this, without sounding prejudice myself? My husband is from Central America and I am white. I have beautiful brown babies. I don’t see color, but I am amazed at how many people in this state do see color.

I’m sure that people will argue with me that it’s not true, but remember, I’m living it. I see it. I’m watching it happen with my very own eyes. It happens at school, it happens on the street, and yes, it even happens at church.

Things happened in our lives that were beyond our control and this led to yet another move. But, this time it was a move closer to my childhood home. A move closer to my mom. A move that would put my beautiful brown daughter in a different High School--the school I went to as a child.

This was her third high school and as she started this new school, she seemed happy. There were definitely issues, but they seemed to be smaller than our past issues. The biggest problem were those dumb friends from her old high school were too darn close. They did not go away. They brought drama with a capital “D”. We were able to find a good counselor at the high school that made sure that Kelly graduated -- by the skin of her chinny-chin-chin she graduated.

Through all of this my oldest son went on a mission. We were good church going, praying, scripture reading LDS people. We were not perfect, but we tried our hardest to do our best.

Kelly however started drinking. She started smoking marijuana. She started doing the things that she knew she shouldn’t and because of this she was angry. She hit walls and she would fight with us constantly. She was -- is -- a mess.

What could I do? How could I help? If I talked religion, she would throw it in my face how awful her experience was in our old ward. I would try and explain the Gospel is true, even if the people aren’t. She didn’t -- doesn’t -- believe me. Right now my house was a war-zone. I have been through struggles in the past and I have weathered a few storms. However, I do not know how to weather this storm. The straw that broke the camels back was a tattoo she got in a drunken state, and a car hitting the divider on the highway.

I constantly turned to the scriptures but I could not find what I needed to help me feel peace. I prayed constantly, but did not feel like I was getting any answers. Finally, I pulled out my Patriarchal Blessing and that is when the peace came. I read the line “Your children will not stray so far that they will not remember your teachings and come back.” There it was. That was my hope.

My hope is that I have taught this young woman correct principles. She knows I love her, no matter what. I even tease her to this day, “Kelly, what do you think that means “so far”. How far IS that?”

I don’t know how my little girls life is going to turn out nor do I know where she will end up. But, I do know that I have done my best. I have tried to teach her correctly and she will return. It may not be in this life, but one day she will return. This is what is getting me through. My patriarchal blessing. My knowledge. My faith.

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