My Daughter Arrives
Now my daughter joins my journey in Southern California and starts her own. I am so excited to see what this next chapter of both our lives will look like.
But as long as we can lay in the sun together, sing along to our favorite songs and feel alive and happy just to be here every day that will be enough for me.
It will be everything I dreamt about after our visit 7 years ago, and it will be everything I have worked for since then.
Seven years ago, I visited Southern California from Portland Oregon with my daughter who was 16 at the time. It was a college tour trip for my daughter, and a mini vacation for just her and I, but it changed the course of both of our lives. We came down to tour UCLA and Occidental as possible colleges for her to attend. I lived in Palos Verdes as a child which is right next to Redondo Beach, so when I was looking for hotels that area seemed familiar to me. So, I booked a Best Western in Redondo Beach as our base camp.
It was her first time in Southern California so we rented a pure white Dodge Charger with jet black interior and tinted windows. It wasn’t the most practical car as the windows were small and hard to see all the traffic out of and we were low to the ground, but it was fun. We squeezed our luggage into the tiny trunk and off we went.
She was my navigator and map-quested the hotel on her phone and told me where to turn. We were both into rap music at the time so we found a LA hip hop channel on the radio and turned it up loud. We drove down the Pacific Coast Highway to our hotel that had promised ocean views on the phone but our small dark room with 2 double beds looked out into the parking lot. We called it the rat’s nest as a joke, as our clothing options ended up all over the floor as we decided what to wear.
We were hungry and decided to go to lunch, and I wore white jeans, high camel colored heals, and my jean jacket. I looked like the typical tourist as we walked to the Redondo Beach Pier for some food. I took pictures of my daughter eating with the ocean in the background. I had her take a picture of me standing on the pier in an awkward pose and smile that I would send to my husband. We decided to walk down on the sand after we ate, and after a few steps we sat in the sand. We both stared out into the ocean in silence.
She was 16 trying to decide where the next phase of her life would take her. My stress level was through the roof at work, and my marriage was starting to breakdown. But we didn’t talk about those things, instead we watched and listened to the waves. Then we both laid down on the warm sand with the sun kissing our tired bodies and we both fell asleep. Just like that, with my purse serving as a pillow I was out cold. The beach patrol drove up to us in their red truck as they were surprised to find 2 women laying out on the beach fully dressed and they asked us if we were ok. We laughed and stood up groggily and thank them for their concern.
Later that night we had dinner reservations so we both dressed up in our best LA style, revved up the Dodge Charger, put the music on, and navigated to West Hollywood. The sun was shining in the car as we rolled the windows down and sang along to the music. We never did this in Portland. We never sang together, we never were so excited to go to dinner together, we never dressed up. I felt our happiness and I asked her if she liked Southern California. She looked over at me and smiled and said, ‘I could live here!’ I smiled back at her, ‘Me too!’
That was it. That was when I became obsessed with moving here. The next morning I walked down from our Redondo Beach hotel to get us coffee, and as I looked out over the ocean in the distance I knew this was my home. I knew I belonged here, and I knew my daughter did too. I went back to Portland and fell into a deep depression. I wanted that joy I felt with my daughter every day. I wanted to wake up in the morning and feel alive as I had in Southern California. I told my husband about it. I showed him rental houses that we could afford. It is all I could think about. I knew the next phase in my life was going to be in Redondo Beach, I just had to figure out how to make it happen.
What I didn’t know is that I would have to get a divorce in order to make it happen. I finally did move here November 2019, and my divorce was final in April 2020. I was where I wanted to be, and I was single. I was a completely different person 7 years ago, and so was my daughter. She ended up going to Seattle University which was a great choice for her. She graduated with a Business Degree just as the pandemic started. She was able to keep her job, but she started interviewing for other jobs as she craved a change, but none of them seemed to be what she ultimately wanted. She would get frustrated and we would talk about it. And I would say, ‘Something else is meant to be, and it will happen for you.’ Not that I knew anything that she didn’t know, but that is what happened with me when I transferred with my employer to Manhattan Beach office which is what enabled me to move here.
As I sit here writing this, all of the events of the past 7 years seem like they were leading up to this moment. My daughter is moving here! She will be here next weekend. She was able to transfer with her job to work in Manhattan Beach, just like me. It seems unreal to me right now. It seems like a dream. It completes my life here in Southern California, as she was always in the picture I had in my mind. It was always ‘us’ here, ever since that first trip.
On the first visit to Southern California I was broken, depressed and sad every day in my life in Portland. Since that time I became sober (5 years ago), started writing this blog (3 years ago), got divorced (1 1/2 years ago) and moved to Southern California. Little did I know that my frantic need to be here would lead me on this journey. I realize now that it wasn’t just about moving, it was about changing my entire life. It was about putting myself first, and finding my voice. Now my daughter joins my journey and starts her own. I am so excited to see what this next chapter of both our lives will look like. But as long as we can lay in the sun together, sing along to our favorite songs and feel alive and happy to be here every day that will be enough for me. It will be everything I dreamt about after our visit here 7 years ago, and it will be everything I have worked for since then.