Divorce can separate a family. But when two people make the effort, a relationship can survive this life changing event. After a painful divorce, one woman, Susyn, shares how she continued to have a successful, loving relationship with her step-daughter.
I am most proud of the relationship I have with my step-daughter. I met Maya when she was 16-years-old. Her dad and I divorced when she was 28 years old. While she and I always had a close relationship when we spent time alone – I often felt she was vying for her father’s attention when the three of us were together. There was the tension that is frequently present in a triangle and I am sure that her dad often felt caught in the middle in his desire for his children to be happy and for me to be happy, as well.
When her dad and I divorced, Maya was married and living in San Francisco, and I was living in New York. It was very clear to me that my relationship with her was a very important and significant relationship in my life, independent of whether or not her dad and I were married.
Before our divorce was final I continued to be in touch with her, generally every seven to 10 days, on phone calls that kept me up-to-date with her life and feeling a heart-warming sense of connection. But as our final divorce decree drew near I wondered how this might impact our relationship.
I took a deep breath during one of our phone calls and hesitantly said, “When you have children, can I be their grandmother?” Her answer was immediate, “Yes.” I let out a sigh of relief.
Then one day during a phone conversation Maya, tentatively said, “My dad said that the only reason you stay in touch with me is because you want him back.” This statement caught me off guard since my relationship with Maya was separate from my relationship with her dad. I assured her that this was what he was thinking and had nothing to do with my love for her. I told her, “You are the daughter of my heart.”
Over the years our relationship has continued to blossom. When my granddaughter was born I happened to be in California for a class and met Maya, Kevin and my two-day-old granddaughter Solange, at the hospital and returned home with them for an overnight – cooking, cleaning and being a Grandma.
When my grandson, Rhone, was born three years later I flew to California and arrived a few hours before they returned home from the hospital and stayed for the next week.
This summer I was in California taking care of the kids during the day when Maya finished her last week of teaching for the year. A week later, while still in California, I fractured my ankle and wound up spending three months with Maya, Kevin, Solange and Rhone, which is clearly the priceless gift of my fractured ankle.
Cultivating my relationship with Maya and now with her family is truly my greatest personal achievement — more than the books I’ve written, the career success I’ve experienced and all the good fortune of my life.
Having had a number of miscarriages, a strong yearning for children, and my former husband initially acting as though, I am finished with you so my kids are finished with you – this is truly my greatest personal and loving achievement.
And just last week, I was delighted when Maya, Solange and Rhone came to a book signing for my new book, The Inspired Life. They inspire me to be the best me I can be.
See how Susyn answers our Identity Five Questions:
1. What have you accepted within yourself and/or within your life? Is there anything you are working on accepting?
I have accepted that I am loved and loving. So often we think about accepting something that we have considered a flaw within ourselves. But my greatest challenge for decades was to acknowledge and value the magnificent being I am; to allow my light to shine and claim my space.
2. What do you appreciate about yourself or your life?
My generosity of spirit and willingness to continually “get back on the horse.” I am clearly an excellent lemonade maker and I have a deep appreciation that every moment, every circumstance offers gifts. Sometimes the gifts are evident and other times it is the opportunity to evolve a pattern of the past and upgrade the software of my mind. What I most appreciate about me is my willingness to be the world’s greatest love in my thoughts, words and actions.
3. What have you achieved, or what are you working to achieve personally, physically, or mentally?
My new book, The Inspired Life, was just released and I am working on sharing it with the largest audience possible – having it be a best-seller! This means I unabashedly share my gifts, talents, skills and abilities knowing that I have something of value to offer to people – to guide them in living their inspired life vision, to turning breakdowns into breakthroughs.
4. What is your no-so-perfect way? We are all unique with quirks and imperfections, so why not flaunt them and embrace them!
I can be very impulsive at times. I get an idea and I ready, fire, aim. I am learning that allowing the time to aim before I act can be beneficial – and I also embrace this spontaneity because it adds spice to life. So balancing a zest for life with discernment is a potent practice for me.
5. How would you complete this sentence, “I Love My…” This has to be about you, physically or mentally.
I Love My commitment to continually deepening and expanding my capacity to give and receive love.
To find out more about Susyn visit www.SusynReeve.com.