I don’t know why it is so darn tough for me these days. Maybe it’s because my oldest is flying in ways I hadn’t envisioned he’d fly. And my next-in-line finds me annoying and doesn’t want me involved unless I am useful.
I know they both love me. That isn’t being disputed, but they have their own lives now. And an involved mom isn’t necessary or even wanted. This is normal and probably considered very healthy in their life journeys.
But man! It is messing with my identity.
It shouldn’t of course. I am me. I am not just a mom. I am not just a wife. No one has ever said I was, but somewhere in the back of my mind or in that spot where emotions are born, my identity has gotten all tangled up with my job as a parent. This is happening so much so that I’m questioning my parenting-style over the last 21+ years. Would I be having these emotional issues if I had taken a more hands-off approach to my parenting? Would I be dealing with this if I had had a full-time career outside the home? Or would that fill me with different questions and insecurities (like, would I regret not spending more time with my kids)?
The thought I get from God is that my children were never mine to begin with (we all know this about our children but it’s easy to forget). God gave them to me temporarily to raise them. My job of nurturing is done. Now, it is Him and them. I need to stop messing with the process and trust them with Him.
Thankfully, there is no condemnation in Christ (Romans 8:1) for I seem to subconsciously grasp at anything that will put me back in their lives as an involved mom. God then gently reminds me (again) that He’s got this. He’s with them. He’ll guide them. My job is to pray for them and praise God for His hand on their lives.
Maybe part of why this is kind of hard is that while dealing with this I have a 17-year-old I know who will be with us his whole life and two other teenagers who challenge me daily in ways that truly stretch my parenting skills. Sometimes I get so worn out I look forward to letting them fly on their own.
All these contradictions within me often confuse me. Who am I? Who do I want to be? When did it get so hard?
And God reminds me again that I am His child. He has a plan for me apart from my children. He has plans for them that don’t involve me. He has given me my husband as my constant companion. And in the last few years He has given me a few dear friends who are quick to offer encouragement.
There are times it feels like a Marie Barone rises up in me – the negative Marie who inserts herself into matters that aren’t her business. I do my best to resist that voice. I don’t always get it right. I’m still learning (it's funny how characters come to mind -- I've mentioned Marie before. It is a testament to the power of story).
The same goes for each of us. God has a plan that just involves you and Him. He has a plan for your spouse that doesn't involve you. He has a plan for your children that is between them and Him. And these are very good things. We can't be God and we really don't want to be. The job is way too big for us. Plus, God does a much better job being God than any of us could do.