My friend Tina and I have been having a series of conversations about loving our adult children and finding a connection with them. This week our conversation took me into some uncomfortable territory. I may even have sounded a bit uncomfortable during the video too.
I’ve found myself questioning whether my connection with my kids is strong enough, whether I am doing enough, and doing it right. Do they know I love them? Can they come to me when they are troubled?
These are all things that we addressed in this video conversation, but I continued to think about long after we wrapped up the video.
I am a woman who likes a good plan, everything laid out carefully and with contingency plans for every possible emergency. When my girls were growing up I had an informal list of guidelines for how “good” moms act and how their kids should behave and how siblings should treat each other. I used to joke “If everyone just follows my plan no one will get hurt!”. I created a safe space, a “bubble”, an idyllic life for my girls to grow up in. Follow the rules, follow the Prophet, follow my example.
It turns out that my “safe” space wasn’t safe or idyllic for everyone and they didn’t all want to continue with the life that I envisioned for them.
More than once I’ve tried to put them all back in that safe space, and each of them has kindly and firmly let me know that they want to follow their own plan. I am often left scratching my head and wondering how life turned out so differently than I planned.
It turns out that you don’t get to make plans for most other people. I’ve learned it is hard enough just making plans for ourselves to follow.
I am at peace with the path my girls are choosing. I realize now that there are many paths to follow, and we don’t all need to follow the same one, but there are moments when I wonder what happened to that confident young mom who knew all the answers?
Slowly, as an older, wiser woman it has dawned on me that I really never had all the answers for guiding my girls. However I now have a bigger heart, more compassion for myself and others and a lot fewer plans and guidelines. I’m thinking that I am exactly where I should be.
Tina and I continue our series of conversations about creating connections. Last week we talked about our connection with ourselves and today we are talking about connections with our adult children.
Please enjoy our conversation.
May the rest of your week be splendid!