The other day Pat and I were talking about some of the challenges of being mothers of adult children. We pour ourselves into their tiny lives, nurturing and guiding every step and every word. We are needed so intensely! Then, 12 or 13 years in, we somehow become an embarrassment. Some one told me once that God made the teen years difficult so that we would be willing to let go of our children. Hmmm, thanks?! If we are lucky, we eventually work ourselves out of our job and we become auxiliary rather than essential. Oh- but it can be painful…
Here are Pat’s reflections on our conversation about this challenging transition:
Transition for the Crone
The crone, who is a parent, gives birth to her children, (no small task) and then devotes years to their growth and development.
Then comes the day when the children become adults, independent, making their own choices, and living their own lives. It seems that, for the most part, support and mentorship from parents is no longer needed or desired.
For me this change in our relationship has been difficult. Recently this has hit me like a sledge hammer.
The Monkey Mind’s commentary goes something like this:
“How long has it been since you called, dropped by or initiated a visit with us?”
“You spend a lot of time with each other but never include me etc. etc.”
To quote Tina Dayton from her book, Daily Affirmations for Parents, “I experience the growing up and going away of my children as a kind of death of my little family – which it is. But this is a healthy loss that will give way to new exciting possibilities if I let it happen.”
The thing with transition is that the old form has died and the new form is yet to unfold. My crone growth right now is to engage the process of grieving and letting go.
Malcolm Forbes said, ”You have to let your children go if you want to keep them.”
In the last page of Tina Dayton’s book on parenting, the entry for Dec.31, she writes about her children:
“So no matter what might happen between us – no matter where your life might take you – you will live within me as a hidden treasure. Nothing can ever take it away. A part of my heart will always be dedicated to you.”
Although tears welled up as I read this passage, I also reflected on “the other parts of the heart”, on which she did not elaborate. The potency of the other parts of the heart that are not caught in the grip of abandonment or loss – those parts are the grist to move forward.
The guidance, the wisdom, the nurturance bestowed on my children are inherent in my essential nature and do not evaporate after they leave the nest. By connecting to these spiritual qualities I open to giving birth to myself; to a larger life of universal love, creativity and service to the broader community.
Paradoxically, no longer hanging onto my children, I am more grounded in my own life. I trust that a new and healthier relationship will evolve with them.
Pat -Evolving Crone in Transition