I’m sure you’ve heard the expression, “your’e only as happy as your least happy child! I have to admit I, Joy De Santo , am a controlling person, a “helicopter mom’. I mean well, always have, but after many many years, I’m finally beginning to get it that adult children are different. I can’t call the guidance counselor anymore and discuss the crappy teacher my child has or complain about a bullying kid that is rude or pushy. I can’t call the mom of a child who isn’t being nice to my daughter or hasn’t invited her to their birthday party. My ability to help is limited and most of the time, they want to work things out for themselves (as they should) Nevertheless, when it comes to boyfriends and career decisions, every once in a while mom is the only person who can help.
My younger daughter, wise beyond her years and truly an old soul in a young person’s body, gave me an admonishment the other day. She said, “Mom, you are there to be a sounding board, nothing more. When a daughter calls, she wants to vent, I am told. It’s . a knee jerk reaction-I’m upset, the world sucks, and I want to talk to my mom! Why don’t they call with good news?!!! They call to complain, kvetch, cry, sob, lash out, and be comforted. I listen now and try not to interrupt (a very bad life long habit!) If I am asked for an opinion or guidance (not usually the objective of the call), I’ll give it.
Little children are easy. Their issues, while important to them, are minor in comparison to the adult child. Trying to find your life’s passion, who am I, what do I want to do with myself, how do I afford an apt on my own, convince a hiring manager to give you a chance, live with another person and come to the conclusion that this person is “the one” or not “the one” are big issues, not to be dealt with lightly.
I may be slow in coming round, but I think I get it now. I need to listen more, speak less, and comfort with a hug, a kiss, or from a distance a note letting that person know that they are loved at all costs. Nothing that is bothering them is bothersome to me as the recipient. That’s what I am there for.
When you are a fixer, a problem solver, this new role is hard. I can’t stop them from falling down or making mistakes, but I can be there to pick them up and wrap my arms around them (no swaddling! Requires too much material for a grown child!)
.Accept this role of mother to adult children with patience, wisdom, and love
. I will always remember the first time I had words with my husband or got fired from a job, or thought I had some dreaded disease, who did I call?-my daddy!
Even at 30 or 40 (if your’e lucky to have your parents around) there are times when the only call, text, messenger, FaceTime, you want is your mom (or dad)
As always, enjoy the ride
Barclay & Joy