NEED VERSUS WANT
I have always tried to teach my kids to be independent, to think for themselves. I want them to be leaders and not followers. I want them to be confident in making decisions, even if they are the wrong ones. I think though that I did too good a job.
My children really don’t need me for anything anymore-not my financial advice, my decorating ideas, my political world views. They have retirement planners for financial advice, female friends and girlfriends for decorating ideas, and the various internet resources for political world views. They both have jobs and college and their own living arrangements. They don’t need anymore, so I just have to hope they still want me.
Most days I don’t hear from my kids at all. Periodically I will text and say “Hey, just thinking about you and hope you’re having a good day.” I usually get a thumbs up emoji, sometimes a “Thanks”. If I’m super lucky I will get a “Thanks-you too Mom.” That one really makes my day!
I know my kids do want me to be a part of their lives in a few ways. First of all, they still come to visit. They also welcome my visits. Second, my youngest has introduced us to his girlfriend, and didn’t react when I asked her for her phone number. In fact, he texted me recently that he’s very happy she and I have a texting relationship. He’s not good at keeping in touch, so I’ve relied on gf to make sure he’s okay. I always ask him how I can pray for him, and he responds with “Nothing really Mom-I’m good.” His gf really helps me fill in the blanks without being too nosey.
My oldest insists he does not currently have a gf, and that if he did, I would not meet her unless they were getting married. He also told me I would meet her at the wedding. While he was staying with us until his apartment was ready, I did manage to convince a woman would probably not marry him until she met his family. He did ask us to help him move into his apartment and, while I wasn’t sure I could move furniture to a second story apartment, I was very excited that he asked. I managed to help get the box springs, mattress, computer tower, and monitors up the flights without tripping and dropping anything. I was very proud of myself!
He declined any decorating help, telling me that his friend Laura is his unofficial decorator. I’ve never met Laura personally, but he continues to insist they are just friends. Last night I received some photos from a number I didn’t recognize. They were pictures of my son sitting at a new desk working on his computer, sitting on his bed with new sheets and a comforter, and a shot of his bathroom with new bath towels and a rug and a shower curtain. I could only assume they were from Laura and contemplated how she got my phone number and why she was sending me photos. The only logical conclusion was that Nathan had given her my phone number, asked her to take photos, and send them to me. But why?
My next logical conclusion is that my son wants me to be part of his life. He doesn’t need my financial advice or my decorating ideas, but he wants me to know about his financial and decorating decisions. And this new chapter of my relationship brings joy to my heart.
I feel so grateful and so blessed that, even though my kids don’t need me anymore, they still want me to know what’s going on in their lives and they want me to be a part. They are two very different kids and include me in their lives in very different ways. It has taken me a few missteps to figure out the best way to be in their lives, but I think we’re there.
Please comment and let me know your thoughts on this post. Please share any experiences you’ve had transitioning from being needed to being wanted.