Hello my joyful friends,
Summer is upon us. Back to school can’t be very far around the corner, right? Well, my 21 year old son, came and went in the blink of an eye. My recently (well, actually not so recently) returned home from college, 20 year old daughter, is leaving in less than 2 weeks. Her return from school for spring break turned into a longer than anticipated stay due to a nasty flu going around that caused the country, nar I say, the world, to come to a screeching halt for a bit.
Their time here has been an amazing journey for me. It seems, I am unsure of who I am when my children are here. This lack of certainty about my role in their lives as young adults led to some conflict, confusion, despair (on my part) and of course, in the end, joy. When challenges arise in my life, it is a time of tumult, followed by a period of growth and learning, and in the end, the joy of newfound knowledge and a deeper understanding of who I am in the world.
Who was I when my two adult (ahem…) children were home? Was I their mother? The housekeeper? A counselor? A teacher? Or, their friend? Or, quite possibly, the pain in the “you know what” lady that wouldn’t stop bugging them! What was my role in their lives now that they were all grown up? I tried on all those uniforms. None of them fit quite right. (I take that back, the housekeeper smock fit pretty darn well!)
I had this need to “connect” with them. My approach as a “friend” was usually met with dubiety. When I tried to counsel my children the reaction was mixed. If my timing was right it went pretty well. If not, it was unpleasant at best. The teacher? That was a real problem. I somehow got it in my head that I was there to teach them a lesson. One night my daughter told me she was going to a friends house. She eventually told me she’d been with a boy. I got very upset and called her a liar. She got very upset and stormed out of the house. I figured she needed to understand that lying was wrong. What I failed to understand, but she later explained to me, was, she told me a fib to avoid the inevitable questioning, probing, teasing that she may have had to endure if she’d told me where she really was going. She was probably right.
My son who is off at college much further away than his sister, doesn’t call me much. At least not as much as I think he should. For a long time I waited and waited by the phone for him to call. He said he’d call me every Monday. Ya, right. So I’d wait two weeks and when we finally spoke, it was not about school, not about what he was up to, no. It was about why hadn’t he called me. He said he would and needed to know he was irresponsible. Right?! This went on for longer than I’d care to admit. One day I had an epiphany. My son was good at many things. But, calling me wasn’t one of them. He wasn’t a good “caller”. So, I decided that when I wanted to speak to my son, I’d call him. What a revelation!
It turns out, I am, at best, their crash test dummy. They get to try stuff out on me. Stand me up for dinner, forget to call, tell me little white lies, and I don’t need to make them wrong. They do not get punished harshly. I brush myself off, I let it go, and sometimes I let them I let them know my feelings of hurt or sadness or even anger. What am I to my kids? I am now, and will always be their mother. My job is to love them unconditionally. Period.
Joy: a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.