That was the question posed by Joe Terranova of the Fast Money Halftime Report, my daily dose of sage financial advice from my favorite experts. He, of course, was referring to evaluating an equity. My mind went to Anna.
Anna was born beautiful, smart, creative and amazing. The minute I held her, tucked into a pink blanket at the hospital, I loved her. When she was about four years old, she and I were playing outside, and my neighbor asked if she was mine. I explained that she was my friend’s daughter. She winked at me and whispered, “But she’s really yours isn’t she.” Before that moment I had thought that I thought of her as niece, but I guess I did have that, “Mom” thing for her. “Yes,” I whispered back.
She and I did life together whenever we could, “Two big girls out on the town.” Every year that passed, she was wise beyond. And as she grew, friends and school activities took the front seat, but the bond, that I will never share with anyone else, remained. I looked forward to her having a vocation, college, whatever she wanted to pursue. After high school, I imagined that we’d get together from time to time, text always, she’d marry a wonderful man, have a satisfying career, children, and all the good that life offers.
Then there was that time when the story changed. Around the age of seventeen, she began experimenting with drugs, most notably heroin. When I found out, all I knew about heroin addiction was that the really bad and looser kids shot up. She was a good kid. She was raised in an upper-middle class environment. How? I did everything I knew to help her (also known as enabling/co-dependency) until it came to the point that my life was being destroyed. Everyone did everything they could to help her (again — enabling). Her cousin got her on the show Intervention. They sent her to a top notch facility. Didn’t work.
For the last eleven years, I have been separated from her more often than not by either the drugs or the treatment. In her way, she loves me, I know this, but I also know that she is not interested in a relationship with me. Horrible as the addiction is, she’s still smart. She understands our new story so much better than I do. I try to communicate from time to time, text, call. Sometimes she answers, but more often she doesn’t. On occasion I’ll get an, “I love you” text, but if I reply, “Hey there. How are you?” Silence. Once or twice a year, we do meet for a meal and it’s never awkward or uncomfortable, but each of our lives are very different now. I don’t have a place in her’s and she doesn’t want a place in mine.
So I have to ask God constantly to help me accept. That little girl, who had a million dollar surplus in my emotional bank account, only made withdraws for years. The question that Mr. Terranova asked about stocks, applies to an investment of time and love for me. Yes, the story has changed.
I pray, I hope, that the story will change again. “Two big girls on the town,” both matching the investment in the equity of our relationship.