07 December 2009

My Biggest Lesson

Yesterday was my daughter's birthday and it got me thinking about the wonders of raising her. I've always liked my daughter and her friends, still do. I'm very fortunate to have a great relationship with her, her husband and her 2 children. I do count my blessings daily for that!

Also makes me realize, though, how much work I (we) have put into this relationship so that it keeps growing, changing, being satisfying. We hit a snag at one point. All right, a gigantic hurdle that I actually feared I wouldn't be able to scale. Kelly was finished college and making (big, major) decisions that I didn't agree with.

We didn't get far on our own and went to a family therapist for some help. The one thing I was sure of is that I didn't want to lose my relationship with my daughter, nor did her father. Anyway, I was sure the therapist would see our side of things, agree and tell Kelly the error of her ways. I really thought this. I really thought I wanted this. It's not what happened.

What the therapist said instead was that our daughter was an adult making her own decisions and that our job was not just to accept her decisions but celebrate them. I was truly dumbfounded! I said to myself: "That will NEVER happen!". Later I cried and carried on to my husband. He heard me out. He's great that way. I came back to my bottom line- I won't lose my daughter over this, or anything.

Well, I did what the therapist suggested. Kelly wasn't asking for advice, she was telling me her decision. I accepted it and her and trusted her to do what was right for her. As for celebrating her decision, I had to fake it until I could make it, but celebrate it I did. Eventually for really real.

And of course 10 years down the road I've come to see the wisdom of her choice, that it was exactly right for her and was/is a blessing for her, for our family, for the world community (really!). I deeply respect and admire her, this daughter, this woman living her life so on purpose.

Motherhood has taught me a lot but I think this was my most important lesson and I'm grateful for the 3 of us doing all we had to do to make this happen. It was the transition from a parenting role to relating as adults in all that that implies. It smacked me up against my wants-to-be-boss-of-the-world side and my don't-I-get-to-be-boss-at-least-with-my-own-daughter side and put me in my place. In a good way. It got me into Codependents Anonymous and boy did I need that! But that's another story.


  1. Hee hee! I hope that when MY kids make their own dumb choices that I disagree with, I can remember this! Maybe you can remind me....

  2. That is, apparently, a hard lesson to learn. And one I'm still working on - but I'm getting there. Thanks for sharing this - good to know I'm not alone.

  3. i love you mom!!! i too am so glad we mounted those hurdles and have arrived at such a wonderful friendship!!

  4. This is indeed one of a parent's hard lessons. My dilemma is that sometimes my all-grown-up, able-to-make-her-own-decisions daughter really does want my advice, and may not know how to ask for it. Telling the difference is the challenge.

  5. I have read this over and over again, and love the love that inspired it! What a wonderful gift for Kelly's birthday. And what a wonderful lesson, not just for mothers and daughters but for everyone in our lives. Way to stick to the bottom line when it counts!


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