Last night I felt like I had the wind taken out of my sails. I am in the process of finally finishing decorating my dining room. After all we have only lived in this house for nearly twenty nine years. I guess there is no time like the present! I showed my mom the window treatments and wallpaper I picked out and excitedly asked her, “won’t this be great?” She replied, “It’s eh…ok BUT…” That answer was not the one I hoped to hear. I reverted back to the old me, got a little miffed, and reacted slightly stronger than I intended to do. I was genuinely excited and truly happy with what I had selected. I felt disappointed in her response. Yet, this isn’t about wallpaper or drapes. It’s about wanting to be told, “yes, it’s great”, even at my age. It’s about wanting her approval. I live my life as a fully functioning independent woman in all areas of my life: as a wife, mother, sister, aunt, friend, volunteer, and woman starting her own coaching business. I don’t typically need my mom’s approval. But, when this feeling is set off it stings.
My mom is a lot of wonderful things. She is intelligent, an avid reader, quietly insightful, loyal, kind, classy, a fabulous artist as both a painter and sculptor. Her family is her world – she will do anything for us when asked. She is never ostentatious, brash, or a braggart about herself, her children or grandchildren. However, my mom is also somewhat reserved in her praise or excitement. Perhaps it is correlated with never
Mothers and daughters have had tumultuous relationships since the beginning of time. As a mother of three daughters I can see it from the other side too. Sometimes, our best intentions are seen as bothersome or overbearing. My mother has rarely been overbearing. Yes, like me she has said “Did you do X? Don’t forget Y.”. But, the older I became and the more of a life I made on my own the less she did that. I give her a lot of credit for that. Somedays I’m still doing too much direct mothering to my three “technically adult” daughters. For me, this letting go is very difficult. Loving them feels inextricably tied to wanting to make things easy for them. It seems to be my modis operandi. Despite this, I am completely aware that I am in control of very little in regards to their lives. I can’t stop the bad from happening, nor can I make the good happen.
I have been getting on one of my daughters nerves lately. It’s hard to sit by when I would do things differently. It’s hard to let her make
t her own mistakes, especially when some mistakes have serious consequences that could be avoided if I stepped in. I will try to say less, direct less often, and just in general try to take a back seat. I will let her drive her own car down her path.
At this time in my life I am very fortunate to have a mother and daughters, even though we may disagree on small issues. So many people wish they still had their mom to talk with. They dream that they could chat about their days or their kids, about gossip or a movie. I know many who wish they could visit their mom and share another hug instead of only being able to visit her at the cemetery. This is the heart wrenching and the truly hard stuff.
I took some time to think and I changed what I will focus on. Not hearing, “yes, that’s great”, or what feels like not her getting approval, is truly unimportant at this stage of our relationship. I know that the time we get to spend together, to talk, to hug, to tell each other I love you, is all the matters. So, I am choosing to be farsighted when viewing our relationship instead of only seeing the moment in front of me. I am counting my blessings. I’ve washed my glasses and adjusted my view. I love what I see.