“A Daughters Walk” by Jane Kirkpatrick is an account of a mother and her eighteen year old daughter who walk from Spokane to New York. If they complete the walk by a certain date they will receive $10,000 which is enough money to prevent foreclosure on the family farm. They do complete the walk, but arrive 2 weeks after the deadline and so do not receive the award money. The book describes their journey and the aftermath of it on them and their family.  It was a difficult journey getting there as well as a difficult one returning home, since they did not have the money they had planned on. They do manage to get home and discover their family is very angry with them for what they have done.  The daughter moves out of the family home and the mother and daughter essentially become estranged. The remainder of the siblings and her husband forbid the mother from ever speaking of the trip. If she even references the trip, her second eldest child, now the eldest living at home, reminds her she is not to talk about it. For the peace of the family, she remains silent about her journey for the rest of her life.  She did keep a nice journal, as she hoped to write a book. Its heartbreaking to see the person she becomes in order to have peace in the family. The mother at the beginning of the book is a completely different mother in the latter half of the book. The eldest daughter acts more like the lady of the house and pretty much determines the household rules and orders her mother around.  At the end of the book, after the mother has passed away, the children find the journal and take it to the fire pit to burn. They have absolutely no understanding of  the impact the journey had on their mother. They didn’t care and some even laughed about it. They were only concerned at how her being away from home  impacted them.

I can’t imagine being silenced for the remainder of my life on any topic or thing because someone commanded it of me.

I had a huge fight with my kids recently. The short version is they don’t like me dating. The read some chat messages between me and a guy friend that were somewhat sexually charged.  They were very upset and nothing I could do or say was going to make them feel better. They were unhappy when I had one steady boyfriend. They don’t like me to casually date several different guy’s either. The looks on their faces told me what they thought of me. I shouldn’t be acting like this. I am a mother not a teenager. I suddenly felt like the mother in my book. She went a long with her husband and children’s order to never again speak of her journey. It kept the peace in the family and home. I guess she felt she had no other choice. I think sh,e also, felt she deserved to be punished for what her family went through when she was gone. Something about this book reminds me of how I’m feeling right now. I feel like I have to do what my kids ask in order to keep the peace.  Oh, they want me to be happy. They just cannot understand all the needs and desires that I, a female/person and not just their mother, still have.

This post-divorce dating and male/female interaction is way different from when I dated prior to getting married.  I’ve only been on a handful of dates but have guy friends I talk with regularly. I enjoy having them as friends.  When you’ve been married and divorced, the desire or urgency to get married again is much lower. I feel like I can date whoever and however many I want. Or just have a friend with benefits. This seems to be a common thing, too. Though my kids read a chat message that was not meant for their eyes, they are only aware of the couple of dates I’ve had. They don’t know I have friends with benefits as well.

Should I acquiesce to the messages I hear from my kids?  Or is it possible to have friends, romance, or even love after divorce?



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