Study Break 2011:3

When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child. ~Sophia Loren

It occured to me (as I lay in bed trying to sleep) that one of the primary changes in my life in this current season is not only my own aging, but that of my daughters. With five children in various stages of life, perhaps I easily overlook some of the more typical passages of maturity that impact me as much as they do my kids.

I have two daughters in college and one about to be a senior in high school. All beautiful, intelligent, well-adjusted young women who have brought me great joy.

But they’re growing up, and I’m often left standing back watching them live and move and breathe and choose. They have a closeness together that is astounding. There are many places that they go together without me – literally and figuratively. They have one another, which I sometimes think is the best thing I ever gave them. Each other.

I am their mother. But I no longer choose their outfits or even buy their clothes, in many cases. They shop for hair care products and drive cars and cook their own food. I do a lot of listening, and worrying, and giving (of money). I look for ways to encourage and worry about whether or not I’ll scar them, at 20, because the Easter Bunny didn’t come.

Their independence forces a natural reduction in their dependence on me. This is a good, good thing; something for which I have worked for two decades.

But I’m surprised to discover that part of my current affliction (IDENTITY CRISIS!) is rooted in my role as a mother of adult women. I’m not really sure how to do that. It’s good to put my finger on this and have a chance to think through it and put it to rest. Or at least acknowledge its existence and impact on my life. That Sophia Loren quote? True. And so how do you manage that constant thinking and re-thinking and checking when they’re out on their own, and your thoughts are often relatively irrelevant?

And then there is the how-to-mother-teenage-boys issue; but that’s another post for another time.

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