I am in my late 50s. You’d think by now I have this whole “Motherhood” thing all figured out.
My kids were moving along in school, getting decent grades, graduating… then, BAM! I became a parent to adults.
Anyone who thinks they won’t worry about their children after they turn 18 has an eye-opening moment coming. Sure, every Mother knows that we are going to worry about our children no matter what age.
But what do you say to them when they aren’t exactly looking for your advice but have just experienced a serious anxiety meltdown? That’s exactly what happened to my son.
He was extremely unhappy in college and wanted to quit. He never told me or his Father. He was too worried about disappointing us.
His girlfriend called me one day telling me that he was going off the deep end. Screaming at her, throwing things around, talking about killing himself. She told me what he had been keeping away from us — that he wanted to quit school!
I immediately jumped into my car and made the hour drive to their apartment. I was praying to find the right words, the best way to help my grown son understand that life is precious and nothing is worth more to me than HIM.
When I got there, I told him exactly that. I also told him that we all experience some crisis in our life. These are the ‘points in life’ that will change us.
“Son, I have been through many changes. Some for the better and some for the worse. Life has a way of making you realize that change might be necessary. If something is making you so miserable, so horrible that you create havoc for yourself as well as those around you, then that’s the Universe telling you that you need to quit. Stop doing whatever it is that tortures you.
You are the one living this life. Not me. Not your Dad. You. You have to live it to your satisfaction. Your Dad and I will love you no matter what you decide to do.”
When I was through talking with him, I felt a sense of relief flooding through his body. I could see a change taking place. An epiphany of understanding that he was truly his own person and could make those big life decisions for himself.
One last thing I told him was this:
“Although your life is yours to live the way you choose, when you choose to live it with another, you have to be considerate about her feelings too. Your Father and I are not living your life but you chose to live your life with your girlfriend. Be good to her. She too, has to deal with your moods and anxieties. It’s not fair to put her through this. When you need to talk, call me.”
One of the things I’ve learned through the years is to try and let your children know that you love them not only for the choices they make that you approve of, but for those they make as individuals.
My son quit college the very next day. He found a job that he enjoys. He may not be getting rich at the moment (who knows what the future holds), but he’s happy. He and his girlfriend are still together and they both know that life has many chapters and they are the ones who are in charge of turning the pages.