Saturday, May 7, 2011

On Mother's Day.

With Sunday being Mother's Day, I naturally started thinking about what being a mother means and how it changes as your "child/ren" become adults.

When a baby is born, it's dependent on its parents for absolutely everything.  But, as time goes on, if a parent is fortunate, that very same baby becomes a totally independent human being who no longer "needs" its parents for day to day living.

I've been thinking about what exactly is the role of a parent of an adult.  I've wondered if there are any  actual duties to fulfill as the parent of a totally independent adult.  If there are grandchildren, the parent can take on the role of babysitter/grandparent (no hint intended, Em), but, otherwise, can it be possible that the parent is superfluous - just another relative who requires an occasional phone call or email to avoid feeling guilty?

There are potential roles that the parent of an adult can fill:  advice giver, sympathetic listener, or career cheerleader, but, honestly, couldn't a friend fill these roles as well? Then there are the annoying roles that a parent can fulfill like being able to push buttons that no friend could ever push or being the archivist of embarrassing childhood memories for the adult child, as in "have I ever mentioned that my daughter was so frightened by the movie ET that she probably still hasn't been able to watch it to this day?"

The one role that a mother will always be best at is loving her child, no matter what, with no strings attached, regardless of the age of the child.  Unconditional love is not easy to find in this world, and that is a mother's love, regardless of the rockiness of the relationship.  When I lost my parents, I realized that there are so few people in your life that just love you with all their hearts and that parents, at any age, are two of those people who are irreplaceable.

A big shout out to my wonderful daughter who makes mothering an adult so easy.  She is very independent, and I'm proud of that.  When I look back on my mothering skills, I definitely would not have won any awards.  My daughter was a latch-key child who would call me at work to tell me she was OK after coming home to an empty house after elementary school.  She somehow weathered this poor parenting to become a talented, hardworking, and loving adult. 

So as I ponder my role as a mother of an adult, I thank her for the joy that she has brought to my life and wish all of you a Happy Mother's Day.

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