I'm Just Starting to Get It...I'm in Charge!!!!!
I recently moved 600 miles to come home and move into my mom's house to help her live her life. Notice I don't mention my life. That's because I don't have one.
My days are arranged around her doctors appointments, shopping, church, friends, errands.
I walk my dog, ride my bike, work at my job, and see some friends, trying to do anything besides clenching my teeth and biting my tongue to make things go smoothly. Sunday is usually my only day to get out of the house and it's not enough. I need to get out of town, away from it all, and truly relax into my own life.
I've been climbing the walls, trying to get along with my mom. Every once in a while, though, I go over the edge. Last night was one of those times.
Yesterday, I suggested it might be good for me, and ultimately, for us, if I got out of town once in while and took a break. It would just be long week-ends, arranged around her shopping and appointments and I would make sure she had everything she needed and I would only be gone for a couple days. Well, she totally surprised me! It was a great idea, she said, what did I want to do, how did I want to do it!
I was rejuvenated. I thought OK, all I have to do is communicate my needs and we can both be happy.
Then last night, out of the blue, she says, "I don't want to hold
you back, if you need to get away, I can arrange to get a ride to my doctors appointments". She might as well have added, "Don't worry about me, I'll be all right...somehow".
So I blew and went over the discussion we had earlier and that whole conversation was now lost and forgotten in this angry encounter. She didn't understand anything I had said earlier.
And then I got it....Don't talk about it. Just do it. I know what I meant when I said I would make sure she was OK. No matter how she interpreted it later in her head and twisted it around, I know the person I am, I know what I'm doing for her, I know what I need and I know what she needs.... I'm in charge here! She is not running my life. I'm helping her with her life.
I've never had kids, but I'm pretty sure, this is exactly what it is like. You make sure they are taken care of, have their needs met, feel secure, have responsibility and freedom so they have have dignity and self-esteem, but realize that they do need help and they do need someone in charge and they are dependent on you.
I'm empowered by this realization. I also realize how much more this is going to require of me to learn and grow with this complicated relationship. I have to now be the bigger person, I have to be the grown-up. And this is just the beginning. I'm sure there is so much more to come.