Navigating Mom

37 years ago I became a Mom and now three of my four daughters are moms.  I come from a long line of Moms and I’ll bet you do too.  This secret club is born from screams into the night and joy in the morning – a pattern that is unchanging – and continues still as I navigate being a Mom to little girls all grown up.

I annoyed one of my daughters today.  I told her I loved her and missed her.  The result was a beautiful daughter tearfully explaining to me how I make her feel guilty and I get it.  I can’t believe it, but I do.  My sometimes dull brain understood how my timing caught her at a moment when she needed me and I misread all the signals.  So what can I do better?

A.  Listen.  Why is that so hard?  Because I am older and feel that my years give me the right to say, to tell, to know.  I listen better to others and often poorly to my girls.  In a fave comic strip (Rose is Rose), Rose’s son Pasqual is talking to her and she begins to speak.  The next frame has her son’s little eyes bulging HUGE out of their sockets and she comes to a dead stop.  After a pause that screams at your heart, Pasqual starts talking again while Rose is mute.  Exactly.

B. Understand that your kids have lives – big lives – and these lives are individual and separate from your own.  This is hard.  For so many years my daughter’s lives were intimately and intricately wound into the fabric of my every day – my every moment.  Then came the boys.  My girls are all married now and with five grand babies as a starter kit, life is full and nuts!  Each daughter has formed a unit that intersects with mine, but isn’t my life, it is her life.  Each new family formed is a trust of love and grace and forgiveness – don’t burden this trust with obligations.

C. Above all love.  What the world needs now… get it.  So, with years of wisdom under my belt, and lessons learned the hard way almost ALL the time, my sage advice is to love.  If you don’t know what to do?  Show love.  If you don’t know what to say, speak love.  I have never regretted the simple, “I love you honey.” End every conversation with telling your kids you love them.  Tell them every day.  Are the words hard to say for you?  Then show them.  Send the strawberry jam in a little box that reminds you of the way they used it up as a child every week.  They’ll get it.   What speaks love to your kids?


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