See, I was going to be the kind of Mom who not only my daughter wanted to be around, but all her friends wanted to be around too. I was going to coax her through the first few years of adulthood, I was going to be her understanding shoulder to cry on, her best friend, her encourager, her solid rock to bounce ideas off of.
So now I get to do all that, but from a little bit of a distance, about 20 miles to be exact (which is nothing out here in the Texas Hill Country).
As much as I hate to admit to anything about me as being normal, what I’ve experienced this week reminded me of the Kubler-Ross model of the five stages of grief I vaguely remember: (Now that I see it in black and white, it fits me to a T. I HATE that!)
1. Denial and Isolation – This was where I decided, “She’s just doing this to see how we’ll react, she’s not really serious.” That was followed by a longing to go lock myself in my room and just have everybody leave me alone. I fought that with all my might because
- I didn’t want my daughter’s memories of her last days home to be of an absent mother; and,
- The lock on my door doesn’t work anyway. They’d find me, they always find me.
2. Anger – I won’t even go into details here, but let’s just say I was not very happy with anybody and everybody associated with Trinity’s move, including Trinity.
3. Bargaining – This was where we started changing the rules in her favor. The rules needed to be changed, but I realized that changing the rules wasn’t going to really change the situation.
4. Depression – That’s where I sat for a couple days, feeling like I’d been fired from my dream job. (Having Trinity was the best thing that EVER happened to me up to the time that status was rivaled by getting married and having more babies. Now it’s a tie.) Rejection? Yes. Then I remembered this really isn’t about me, is it? And Trinity assured me with her comments, No, it’s not.
5. Acceptance – This is the good part. See, my daughter, Trinity, is amazing. She has been such a blessing – as a friend, a co-worker (for a long time she did all the dishes AND all the laundry), a daughter, a confidant, the voice of reason at times, my Scrabble
partner tutor, a companion for my other children, I could go on and on. She has earned the respect of just about everyone she has come into contact with. She’s a joy to be around, and I am so very, very proud of her. I know that she will handle this experience, as she has handled all the other experiences in her life, with grace and discernment.
And it has finally hit me that it’s not necessarily a bad thing when an 18-year-old adult decides they want to actually act like an adult rather than just have all of the privileges and none of the responsibilities. I mean, don’t we want that eventually for each of our children? Not to say we wouldn’t have loved it if Trinity would have let us carry the load just a little longer, but there’s a lot of good in all this too. Although it felt at first like she was dropping out, in reality she is graduating.
So here’s my question for you:
What did your parents do (or not do) when you left home to encourage, support and foster an ongoing relationship with you?
What have you done for your adult children when they left home to encourage, support and foster and ongoing relationship with them?
Disclaimer: And, yes, I did ask my adult daughter for her permission to post this!
- The Mythic Stages of Grief (ptbertram.wordpress.com)
- 6 Important Ways to Schedule Time to Spend With Your Mom (massageenvy.com)