Does it ever end? I really was a good mother, the best I knew to be but I feel I failed in so many areas, too. Don’t we all though? The ‘if only’ I had known or could do over sometimes rolls over in my mind, even though they are grown adults. I needed more time with them to do this or that, teach them things that I overlooked and so much more. Time runs out.
A mother of toddlers and as they grow, it is exhausting but the best reward in life ever. It is not an easy job being a parent. Today, I wonder how the parents are relating and dealing with what is before their own children and family, as the world seems to be spiraling down to a deep despair of ungodliness.
I remember the time when my boys were old enough and to the age of puberty and here comes Clinton having office sex with his staff attorney, being discussed on tv. I felt I was at a loss. Now all the drag and pronouns and senseless behavior. It boggles my mind.
All I know to do is realize deep down and STOP the mental fight that I was a bad mom and did not do enough. My sons are doing quite well, but I know also I failed them in many ways. We learn. They learn. We all learned. Our parents did not do everything right either, I know mine did not. They did the best they could at the time. I must forgive them. I must forgive myself. To dwell in the depths of despair is useless and causes the rabbit hole of mental anguish to deepen.
What I can do today, from this point forward and each day is to be a better mom. To be me and know that they have a path to walk and to keep my eyes on the Lord, knowing and truly believing that He has prepared a path for them. They get to choose and make decisions. I have been out of the picture for a long while now, but I will always be a landing pad for them, if needed. They know that and they know, too, that I love them.
The guilt comes to all of us parents. It is the point of stopping the guilt and acknowledging that our prayers have been heard and that the Lord knows their name and He knows exactly where they are in life. Sometimes, we want to help the Lord. Just stop and let Him show them the way and that they be open enough to recognize the way. I did my job and probably you have, too, or are in the midst. Just because they are adults, they are still our children. Our way is not their way. We let go again and again. Let God.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
Today, as I listened to Reba McIntyre talk about her dad and how she never heard him tell her that he loved her growing up, laughing and brushing it off, I felt sad. What was it about that generation that did not say they loved their children? I know it must have hurt her even though she understood him. All children need to hear I Love You. I try to grasp what that generation was thinking, perhaps how they were raised. Did they not hear I Love You and figured that was the right way to raise their children or were they told too much and definitely did not want to repeat the same, which I really doubt. Maybe they were never told I Love You, so they lived a life of figuring they were loved, or also doubting of their parent’s love.
Had I heard those three words growing up, it sure would have saved me a lot of time and money in counseling. While that was not the main purpose of counseling, it played a big part of my life, a missing part. I discovered that I felt unlovable and not knowing even that until the counselor helped me see the dots connected. Something was just missing. Thank God she picked up on what I said and expressed of my childhood and adulthood.
While I, too, understood, I missed that part of truly knowing. Of course, they loved me, I am their child. RIght? Then again, I was an oopsie and did they regret me more than love me, which was a thought I often had. No, they loved me. It was just not part of them to express, and I have to remember that was just the way it was for them back then. How sad though that a child has to wonder such facts that should be an important part of growth.
Some will immediately state, of course, you were loved, as you had a roof over your head, shoes on your feet and food on the table. True! Is it that hard to say I Love You though to your own flesh and blood?
One thing, I learned of never hearing I Love You was to always tell my children that I love them. They never leave or hang up the phone call without their mom saying, I Love You. In turn, they tell me that they love me, which means the world to me. Maybe I run it in the ground too much whenever we leave one another, as I have thought, but how can one not enjoy hearing those three words. If I was to leave this world or they would, I want them to never have to guess or wonder if I loved them, vice versa. My heart beats for them, more than they will ever know. The last words, no matter when, I Love You!
I am sure in my parent’s heart, it beat for me, but my heart was broken many times when growing up, playing the guessing game if I truly was loved. Sadly, growing up never hearing, I never said those words to them either. Even though, they cared for me and at the end of their lives, I cared for them. That’s love!
It is understanding but yet forgiving them and myself of what did not happen in order to go on and know deep within that they loved me, and I loved them.
Never miss the opportunity to reassure those in your life of your appreciation, pay a compliment and put a positive word in their life and the most important is, I Love You.
How do I parent an adult child? I am sure some would comment, you don’t. The child is an adult, making adult choices and decisions and does not need their mother meddling in their business. Correct!
Still, I am my child’s mother and always will be. Does that mean I can step in and control? Nope! Once their foot stepped out to leave for college, I knew my parenting was on the sideline. Mom was not there to pick up the dirty laundry, although that was brought back home when visiting but I enjoyed one last chance of them needing me. Plus, I like doing laundry. College is over, years now in their professions and doing well. A proud mom. Although, I feel less and less needed of not helping out by hanging curtains, painting, landscaping, cleaning, etc. I miss those times together as we worked together, so I must have taught them well.
To be honest, I have to fight the thoughts that they don’t want to be with me anymore and even worse, they don’t need me. Those thoughts, fears and the tears are just that, nothing more. I can choose to dwell there or know their life is busy, they enjoy my company, don’t need me as much and most importantly, I know they love me.
Letting go and the choices, decisions, their finances and places they chose was on them to deal with, good or bad. The friendships made, also some good and some bad. In time, they also would learn who was using them or were true friends. The late nights out or the studying never complete was on them. When they left for college, my saying to them was if you play, you will still have to pay, in one way or another. Thankfully, and proud mom moment, they both were always on the Dean’s List. My thinking with the play and pay was more in tuition, knowing they would regret.
It was over the years, my youngest has had to pay in other ways. Thankfully, he is independent, has too much trust in others and has a kind heart. He is a lot like me and I am unsure if that is good or bad. Do I say I am sorry or you are welcome?
I have seen my youngest pushed down time and time again being used and taken advantage of but still he bounces back up. The last few years, the bounce has been slower and depression set in. Several of his friends committed suicide, three in one year, that’s traumatic. Some of the choices he made were not wise but he has to deal with them and he has done just that, probably more than I know. Again, just like me, you deal with it. It will be years later when some of the stories come out and my system is not shocked as much. I am just now hearing about high school and some of the college stories, which I normally look at them and say, ‘You are grounded,’ and then we laugh. I do remember being young.
Letting Go of Worry
As their mother, I want to jump in and do this or that but my jumping in to help has to be minimal, more and more. They both need to figure life out on their own, responsibility and experience the bumps and bruises as they come, if so. I have always made sure they know I am here though.
I know that they know of such, especially my youngest again, because at 3:00 AM one morning, about a year ago, he calls in desperation and my heart dropped. He knew I would pray and he also knew I would stay on the phone until a peace was present. It was that time when he had a perfect opportunity to call upon the Lord, just him in an empty parking lot looking up at the sky filled with stars and his eyes filled with tears. As I mentioned this to him, he had a choice and perhaps he did but now he is running from what was said and promised to the Lord. I don’t know the outcome of those alone moments before he called or after we hung up but one day I will. I know I had to trust God like never before to hold him close and watch over him, being about four hours from home. I had to make a decision to get on the road and head toward West Virginia or stay, pray and trust the Lord. My bag was packed and I was on my way though.
Just to know, he made it back to his home fine, checking in with me. I truly believe after he drove down to work that afternoon and when work was over, he had a panic attack. He had time for it to settle and realized his life was spared from a horrific accident. Listening to him explain the car wreck on the highway and as he was trying to avoid her, by going in the other lane, he looks in the rear view mirror seeing a semi coming right at him. Saying he was able to keep control and move back over before being hit. The mind just imaging this play out, I was having a panic within but those prayers of protection over my child(ren) will always be prayed. He could not get the girl’s face of fear out of his mind, worrying if she lived or died. It all hit him, as it would any of us.
Not knowing how he was touched spiritually in that parking lot, I do remember being young and running from the Lord. I knew better but I did not want to serve the Lord. We all have had moments, I am sure. In my own situation, I had no peace or real joy and miserable until I totally surrendered my life of living for the Lord, as a Christian. I feel that is where he is now. He is miserable. He has a choice to make. He knows his mom prays and has told him time and time again that there is a calling upon his life. Satan will fight even more. As his mom, I will pray even more. Satan will not have my son, or my other son (and daughter-in-law). They all know of God, saved when young but not serving Him.
I have to trust, too, that being raised in a Christian home, attending a Christian school and us praying together, they know and I stand upon that God’s Word will not come back void. Their father and I dedicated their lives to the Lord and I expect nothing less.
My prayers for both of them were that the Lord would place Christians in their pathway to light the way with direction and be a witness, if just in their personal walk with the Lord. I know they would talk more freely with another than their mom, which I totally understand, I was the same.
My oldest, as he was first to leave the nest, I prayed for him to be friends with others of Christian backgrounds and that they would be influenced in that manner. His group of friends from start to finish in college are all still good friends today, in each other’s weddings. Now, the children are being born, but I also see them involved in church. This son, of course, is not like my other and needs to be treated differently. Lord, put Christians in his pathway to bring him to where he needs to be in his walk. I have watched this and it is exciting. Not exactly where I want him and his wife yet, involved in a church, but I’m patient. So is God. It is no accident that their house is right across the street of a large church. I now just pray that the right one will come, knock on their door and invite them to attend and go from there.
My prayer for my children and even myself, is to put Christians in our pathway of life to help us and to lead us in the right direction. We all need this, God’s Timing of the right place and the right person/people to bring us to where we need to be in life. Trust Him.
My youngest, my prayers for him is for safety, clarity of thought and mind, wisdom and as I see depression linger, that I bind the works of the enemy upon him. This one stretches my faith but I will stretch in order to see him saved and serving the Lord. He has a testimony and a way about him to help so many around him. His experiences in life will open doors to speak of what not to do. To share of how he got through this or that and what he learned in the middle of circumstances and of acquaintances that used him. It was not always others that caused the problems but he made some unwise decisions. Still, he came out on top. I feel the Lord has favor upon him. All I know to do and to be right now is BE STILL and know that I can trust God with my son, which is His son also.
Letting Go of Giving Advice
Having these boys increased my faith in God. I finally understood what love was all about with them being born and I cannot imagine life without them, how boring. A truly blessed mom here.
So, as they age and so do I, for some reason I long for their company which seems to be less and less as they have their own life. As they left for college, the empty-nest grief, I felt, but I sense it somewhat now, too. I don’t know where I fit in within their lives. My oldest being married, they have one another. My youngest will one day marry but he is alone. Perhaps it just me thinking he is alone, he’s probably just very busy in life. I miss our time together, I miss hanging the curtains, helping him with his out-of-control dirty laundry. He has it together. It’s his mother that is lost in an age of uncertainty. Sometimes wondering, ‘Am I Your Mother?’ Of course, I am and I always will be as my love and prayers will always be alive, even when I die. I certainly hope that they never had to or will ever have to question if they were loved.
Letting Go of Guilt-Tripping
The article attached is really good. I found it as I have pondered this parenting thing for a bit. Maybe it will help you or someone you know that struggles being a parent to adult children.