My sweet mom and dad spent four days with us last month. It was their “victory tour.” My dad was diagnosed with leukemia 7 months ago. After specialized treatment, he is declared in remission! Happy, happy!
And, I enjoyed them more this time than ever before. Leukemia has changed us all.
But, you know how it can be with your parents, right? Even as an grown-up child.
Especially as a grown-up child.
Especially, possibly, probably, with your own grown-up mother.
I love my mother. She is kind, thoughtful, wise, involved, and such fun! She loves to talk, is very interested in all I’m interested in, and willing to help however I need.
But – just putting it out there – a natural tension can arise as two grown-up women morph from what used to be to what is possible in the world of grown-up relationships. Things like:
- As a grown-up daughter, you don’t want to feel their pity for the difficult things you have to manage. It makes you feel weak.
- As a grown-up daughter, you don’t need their unsolicited advice. It comes across as criticism.
- As a grown-up daughter, you don’t need another helping of green beans!! You’ve been in charge of your own eating for years now and doing just fine.
I do get it. I’ll be there one day too. A mother of 3 Man-Sons.
I can only imagine how hard it is to grow WITH your child as they grow into an adult. But I have found that
growing your relationship WITH your growing child
could be one of THE MOST emphasized components for a continuing long-term healthy relationship.
As a grown-up daughter, there’s often that prickly inside feeling fighting inside me, verging on irritation and insecurity. The tension of realizing a few things:
- Who they are is who I used to be.
- Their normal is no longer my normal.
- I have my own way of doing things: folding clothes, loading the dishwasher, where to put my shoes.
These inner irritations have the capacity to erupt in snappy, snarky, comments, conversations, or withdrawals if confronted, challenged, or judged.
But on this visit with my parents, I didn’t participate in an internal wrestling between who I used to be and who I am now.
I was internally calm.
I was fully present in the moment and enjoyed our time together.
And, I contributed to making authentically happy memories.
As they drove away, I pondered,
“What made the difference for me? Why is this time different from the others?”
The answer in one word is:
1 Corinthians 15:10 “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace to me was not without effect.”
God’s grace is the soothing truth to heal, change, and reposition our filter holding us strong no matter how healthy or crazy your own mamma is.
Building a grown-up relationship with your mom (or anyone for that matter) begins with accepting that your relationship can only grow to the extent that we each let it.
- You may be dealing with a crazy mamma, so know that her crazy is the cap to the potential healthiness of your relationship. You will forever be disappointed if you have this fanciful hope of a Beaver Cleaver uniting with your mom when she may just not have the capacity to reach it.
- Or, you could be the crazy one and the same limitations apply.
But in our efforts to be responsible for our own interactions, this is what grace can look like as you attempt to make your relationship the best they can be. Two things (one today and one tomorrow):
1. I am what I am by God’s grace over me.
I am what I am by what my mom thinks about me.
I am what I am by how she compliments me.
I am what I am by how interested she is about the stuff going on in my life.
Through grace, I realize that my mom (or, for you, “that person”) is no longer the mirror of my significance. Who she says I am is not who I am.
When we were itty bitty, our mothers were the first ones in establishing our self-worth. But as we become a grown-up, we learn to root our existence in who God is and His love for us.
But for many, that is a difficult switch. Our mothers can have a very strong hold on who we see ourselves to be. Some are even held in extreme unhealthiness.
As a grown-up child, it is now time to redirect where you find your value if you haven’t already. I am learning to embrace that I am what I am – big nose, genetic propensity for under-eye circles, muffin top belly, die-hard introvert – by God’s love and favor for me.
That’s who I am.
That’s who you are too, my friend.
In those moments when you feel the tension ignite, open up to the One who tells you the truth about who you are through no broken filter.
You are loved deeply, completely, utterly, graciously by your Perfect Father.
By believing God’s grace for yourself , you open up grace to flow into all your relationships especially to your grown-up relationship with your mother on this Mother’s Day.
Join me tomorrow as we uncover the 2nd truth to building a grown-up relationship with your mom!