Sometimes, when one of my adult children come asking for advice, I have to take a giant pause. My immediate answer is usually very different from what I would give another person as suggestions, counseling or help. I listen. Then I listen some more. In my middle age I have learned to detach from being a parent and truly be available for them. It’s not easy. There are subjects that I rather not touch with any of them. But, I am so grateful that they do come to me, not so much as a parent, but as someone who has experienced life just a little bit ahead of them. I giggle at the thought that they think I have an unlimited amount of wisdom. Heaven knows I am constantly having to Google for answers or improvise.
There are boundary lines we create with our children. I ask myself, “What would I tell a friend asking me this same thing? How would I guide that person if I had not invested my heart completely?” The reality is that there is no difference. There is no inequality in how I would treat another over my children. My kids are all of adult age. Conversations about sex, drugs, alcohol, traveling, and whatever is out there does come up. We are not “that” open to discuss each others’ adventures but they know that I am here for the long haul. It doesn’t matter what has happened, the torturing of teenage years that left me in pure exhaustion, or that our hearts have been fractured many times. We are still a family. We are the sum of our experiences: past, present and future.
I look back at raising six individuals. Whether or not their mental issues, capacities, and past environments (before they arrived into my arms) have played a large part in their evolution I take full responsibility for letting them know that I got their backs. I will not baby them. I will not partake in senseless acts that will put them in harm. I will not advocate destructive behavior. But, what I will do is let them know that I am here with two ears, open arms to hold them, and plenty of kisses to heal all wounds. I am here to respect their choices and not tell them “I told you so” even when I want to because life could have been a bit easier for them. But then they wouldn’t learn just like I didn’t learn from my mother.
I have not been a “perfect” mother. I have no idea what that would entail. What does the perfect mother look like? How does she dress? How does she speak? Where does this perfect mother live? How does she handle bipolar disorder, learning disabilities, mental challenges, schizophrenia, hallucinations, ADD, ADHD, and dissociative identity disorder? How does this mythical creature raise her children to be the best possible adult? I have stopped trying to emulate her. I am way too absent minded to be able to focus in searching for her. I have come to a healthy place of accepting me, all my flaws, and love the wholeness of my mothering skills.
Ultimately it is all about love and respect. Whether you are raising a child, in a relationship with another, helping a total stranger, life requires that you are present in love. You will never have all the answers but that is what the Internet is for! However, you can allow the heart to open and fully be present through kindness and compassion with another. As the Dalai Lama has been quoted, “What is love? Love is the absence of judgment.” Love is contagious. Without judgment we heal, learn, and find peace through the embodiment of Oneness.