COL: Loving A Prodigal

Louise Tucker Jones

Once upon a time I had a daughter. She was beautiful with long black hair, olive complexion and big brown eyes. Paula was just shy of four years old when Carl and I brought her home to be part of our family. She giggled and talked nonstop in spite of the fact the caseworker said she might need a little speech therapy. Oh no! She would definitely need therapy later, but not for speech. 

I held Paula on my lap the day we made our adoption final. Suddenly, she was our daughter, our little girl. Ours to keep. Ours to love. Ours to teach and guide. Unfortunately, those early years of neglect caused Paula to develop an attachment disorder, something unnamed and unknown at that time. To Paula, no one was special and rules meant nothing.

Her teenage and young adult years were turbulent. Not knowing how to give or accept love, she looked for that missing part of her soul in all the wrong places. Her life was all about leaving. Always leaving someone who tried to love her.

There were years with no communication. Then just before her 40th birthday, I got a call from my granddaughter. Her mother, who had been absent most of her life, was dying. I went to the hospital. I sat beside my daughter. Suddenly, Paula’s boyfriend made an inappropriate comment. She quickly turned to him and said, “Watch your mouth around my mother!” I smiled. Strange as it may seem, that was an acknowledgement of her love for me and I recognized it. Before leaving, I kissed her forehead and told her I loved her. It was the last time I would see her.

It’s a sad story and I write it for one reason. Someone reading this has a prodigal and is dreading this coming holiday. Know that the void in your child’s heart did not come from lack of love from you. It took a long time for me to accept that truth. May it be a healing balm to you.

And to moms of every age and in every stage of motherhood—Happy Mother’s Day!


Louise Tucker JonesAbout the Author

Louise Tucker Jones is an award-winning author, inspirational speaker & founder of Wives With Heavenly Husbands, a support group for widows. or  

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