With a fierce, biting wind reminding me it was still winter, my world became cold and barren.
My daughter confessed to cutting.
We are the definition of a normal, modern, blended, American family. We struggle with schedules, negotiate the school-work balance, commute to and from extra-curricular activities, schedule social time among adolescent and adult friends, cope with extended family matter dramas and move through our daily lives as a family living alongside two ‘tweens.
What I had written off as normal ‘tween girl drama I can retroactively see now as warning signs. Stereotypical signs, too! Tumbling grades (check!), increased arguments with us, (check!), a new passion for fighting with her brother (check!), yelling matches and hurling hurtful words (check!), periods of deafening total silence (check!).
As a hip, consciously-aware, educated, socially active mother (certainly not like the old-school Korean mother I grew up with!) I knew and understood the stage of growing up she was going through. She was in the early stages of adolescent spring! The winter of child childhood fading. I could even empathize with the season of adolescent spring: the bright sunlight moving from family to friends, chores and homework to trips to the mall with friends and PG-13 movies in giggly, awkward groups.
And yet here I was am trying to understand. I’ve Googled. I’ve read. I’ve Tumblred. I've seen and read things that have broken my heart a million times into a million pieces. I’ve gone to see our family therapist. I’ve cried. I’ve begged. I’ve pleaded. I’ve prayed. I’ve overdosed my daughter with “mommy and me” time(!) not because I particularly enjoy spending countless hours talking about My Little Pony, cats and watching Animal Planet, but because I’m too scared to leave her alone. Too scared what I may find when I come back.
Knowing what I know about Koreans and depression; knowing what I know about my Korean parents, depression and alcoholism; knowing what I know about my own struggles with depression, alcoholism and addiction I wish I knew more about how to help my daughter.
Sometimes I think we are moving through this season of hurt, but then I am reminded of the very meaning of seasons and that cutting isn’t just a one time thing, a one hundred time thing, or even a one thousand time thing . . . it’s a lifetime thing.
But like the approaching spring, there is hope.
There has to be hope.
Hope springs eternal in Texas.