Here I am in my mid-forties, married over twenty years, four children and responsibly-employed. Yet my mother has the ability to reduce me to a five-year-old child in seconds. Am I the only one who goes through this? I bet not.
I was prompted to write about this topic (notice Thomas is not writing this because it seems to be more of a mother/daughter issue) because I recently told my mother I was going to San Francisco for the weekend with Thomas. Now, I’ve known about this trip for two months but I could just hear my mom’s comments which would go something like: “How can you leave the children? Do you really think you ought to be spending the money? Do you really think you should be taking the time off work?” It would go on and on.
Instead of dealing with all of that right away, I put it off until yesterday, two days before our departure. To make it more pathetic, I told my mom as I was walking out her door in an oh-by-the-way manner. As I tried to dash to the car (did I mention I’m in my mid-forties?), I heard my mom say: “Wait just a minute!” Oh boy.
I slunk back and, sure enough, was asked the very questions I anticipated. By the way, my answers to the above-mentioned questions were: “Easily”, “Yes” and “That’s what vacation time is for”. No, really, I wasn’t quite that snarky.
Man oh man, I could just kick myself for caring what my mom thinks. I hate feeling my otherwise confident self whither inside all for her approval. Why does this happen?
Thomas’ theory is that this happens to me and others when parents don’t respect their children’s choices. It’s the way I’ve always experienced things so why should merely growing up make a lot of difference? Hmmm. Well of course that got me thinking about myself as a mother to my children, specifically my daughters. Thomas glaring at me, hoping I’d make the connection, helped that along.
So what do I take from this? As a parent, I need to be aware of how words and glances and gestures can devastate bit by bit in a lasting way and to be very careful to avoid that. As a daughter, well, I haven’t figured that one out yet. Maybe I just need to keep telling myself that I am a grown up and that my decisions are valid and are my own.
This reminds me of a funny quote I heard: “I’m going to build you a bridge so you can get over it!” Perhaps as I cross the mighty Golden Gate Bridge, I’ll think of that and “get over it” in more ways than one.