Radio Diaries: Never Give Up

Mar 24, 2017

When my daughter was ten years old, I left my marriage and turned her life upside down.  Sara was furious with me, justifiably furious.   

Often, when she was at her dad’s house, I called to check in with her.  Sara would come to the phone but not talk to me.  So I carried on a conversation as if she were part of it, then told her I loved her and said good-bye.

I felt terrible, of course.  Full of guilt and sadness and fear that I had lost my daughter forever.  And I almost stopped calling more than once.  Then I would pick up the phone and call and talk to myself.  Eventually, Sara and I became friends again and she asked to live with me full-time.

She even thanked me for not giving up.  “You called whether I wanted you to or not,” she said.  “It was a feeling of caring, even if I didn’t care for you at the moment.”

So, now, when I hear an estranged parent talk about giving up on a child, I am quick to empathize—and also to say, “Don’t give up.  Keep calling even if they don’t speak to you.  Take my word for it.  My daughter’s word.”