Mom with her granddaughters
When I was younger and my mom would give me her unsolicited "advice," I would to roll my eyes and most times thought I knew better. I usually took it as criticism or maybe she thought I didn't have a brain in my head, because she felt the need to remind me about the simplest things. She would make suggestions about what I should eat for lunch when I was at work. She would tell me to bundle up the baby because it was cold outside. She always had to advise me on so many annoying little things, and not just one time. Sometimes my patience would wear thin and I would tell her I wasn't stupid or ask why she was always criticizing everything I do. She seemed taken aback at my reaction because she explained that wasn't her intention at all, she was just trying to be helpful. I didn't get it back then. So we spent many years in this cycle. She insisted and I resisted.
Today, with hindsight and years of motherly experience, I don't see things quite the same way. I realize my mom was just being a "mom," the same mom she had always been. She didn't know how to back away and adjust her motherly ways so they were more suitable for adult children. She wanted to feel useful, protective, helpful, nurturing, which were all the ways that always defined our relationship as mother and daughter. But there were times when all I could feel was that she was being intrusive and overbearing, and didn't approve of my way of doing things. It's a shame really because now she isn't here for me to tell her that I understand what she meant, how she felt, and why.
When your children grow up and go off on their own, we are supposed to continue the process of letting go. After all, we've done our best to teach them everything they need to know to get along in the world and now it's up to them to live their own lives. This is great in theory, but like many theories, it falls short when applied to real life. How do we tell our kids that while they see adults when they look in the mirror, we still see that little girl who twirled her hair with her finger as she dozed off for a nap? They really can't appreciate what we are trying to do with our well meaning words at this stage of their lives. That we still want to feel needed and we need to nurture. They don't know the emptiness we are feeling even though we are happy for their successes. One day they will figure it out, look back to the past and appreciate what we tried to do.
And now I know my mother meant well and always had my best interests at heart. And I know she always wanted to protect me from harm in all it's forms. And I know that when anything happened to me, whether it be sickness, financial issues, problems with other people, heartache, that if something hurt me, it also hurt her heart so many times more just knowing and watching me go through it. Instead of digging in my heels and resisting her well meaning gestures, I should have embraced them, acknowledged them, and thanked her for caring so much and devoting her life to being my mom.