It’s your mother again! And this time, instead of giving YOU advice, I want to give advice to my future-self about how to relate with you when you are adults. (If you are reading this as an adult, you have my current-self’s permission to remind future-me that I said all of this.)
My opinions may change, of course. But, I NEVER WANT TO GUILT TRIP YOU INTO SPENDING TIME WITH ME!!!
All the time I see empty-nesters posting warnings about how “one day you will miss your parents” and “your mom won’t be around forever, you know?!”
And it’s fine if they’re just posting a reminder for themselves that they want to call their own mom in the near future…
…but most of the time, their own mothers are gone…
…and they sit around thinking guilty thoughts about how they “woulda shoulda coulda” done more…
…and they worry they messed up…
…and they feel down on themselves…
…so they decide to share some of that guilt with their kids by saying in no uncertain terms, “YOU’RE GOING TO BE SORRY ONCE I’M DEAD!”
My darlings, let me tell you what I really, really hope I’m able to do instead. I hope someday, when you’re too busy to call me, I’ll realize it is because you’re taking care of my grandchildren and changing the world, and I hope I think triumphantly, “I’ve done it!”
I’ve accomplished my mission!
Your success will be my success, and I hope I’m able to cheer (from a distance, if necessary), with the proper perspective.
I hope my flexibility and my love for you will make it so that you WANT to call or visit home as much as possible. But, even if “as much as possible” is pretty rarely, I hope I can remember just how difficult it is to be a young adult balancing work and child-rearing and home projects.
I hope I remember it’s actually a GOOD thing you aren’t sitting in my basement, with nothing to do and nowhere to go. (If you spent all your time still eating and playing and sleeping right next to me, we would have a problem.)
I hope I’m able to celebrate with you because smart and successful people are looked up to and depended upon and needed for many, many things…and it only adds stress if they have an insecure Mama sitting idly in the background.
And I hope all of these things keep me from doing the Mom Guilt Thing.
I’m sure I’ll mess up. And I’m sure it won’t be easy to express how much I miss you and love you, without turning it into a personal pity party… (Because I DO love you, and I already get a little sad thinking how bittersweet it will be when all of you fly your separate ways.)
But, goodness, I don’t want you to get home at the end of a long work day and think, “Aw, crap, I didn’t call Mom again, and she always gets annoyed and complains when I don’t do enough.”
Your successes will be my successes. If you’re doing your best and following the heart of God, then you will have no reason to feel guilty.
You will have no reason to beat yourself up after I’m dead and buried, because having kids who follow the heart of God has always been my ultimate goal…
As always, I love you!