Friday, December 18, 2009

Biting My Tongue

You know what's hard? It's hard when I see my daughter, heart of my own heart, leaving what is safe and sure to leap into the unknown. She's telling me about her plans, and I listen, and inside, I'm thinking, "No. Oh. Eeeeek. Don't do that. The road you've been traveling up to know has worked out well for you...what do you want to risk screwing that up for?" But I bite my tongue, and out loud, I simply say, "Well, what's your back up plan if this one doesn't work out?" I listen carefully, but keep my opinions to myself, because the girl is not asking me what to do. She is telling me what she is going to do.

She is on the brink of flight. She is taking off in her own direction. It will be a different direction than I have traveled in my own life. I chose, and I chose poorly at times. I married who I shouldn't have. And then there were children who became the most important thing in my life, because that is what mothers do. My own needs became secondary to theirs. I know that some disagree with that, but I feel like my right to choose my path came secondary to what was best for my children. And so my life's decisions were based on them, not me. Don't get me wrong. Life has worked out for me. I am married to a smart man, a good man. We have provided to the best of our abilities for all of our children. Now when it should be our turn, we got turned around by cancer. Now those uncertainties guide our choices. We are making the safe choices, the ones that lead to security. It's just the way that my life has been lived. I'm happy enough, and I still find plenty of joy in my quiet corner of the world.

It will be different for my daughter. She will not pick safety over adventure, security over a new experience. That is her way. She is intelligent, and she is gifted, and she will choose her own way. My job is not to hold her back. I cannot quite bring myself to encourage her to take these leaps of faith, but I speak quietly, and watch carefully, reminding myself of this: the worst thing that could happen is that she would fail, and if she fails, there will be someone who loves her to help her stand back up and dust herself off, and get ready for the next big flight.

14 comments:

Mrs. Spit said...

My mother's greatest gift has been to very rarely say "I told you so".

BUSH BABE said...

A wise woman. And a lucky daughter to have such as wise woman as her mother and friend. Hugs
BB

Lydia said...

What a blessing to have a daughter that can think and plan for herself. The security she demonstrates certainly is a testament to the encouragement she received from a loving family to come home to.

yea for you!

WhiteStone said...

Kids! We keep worrying about them, don't we? And then they surprise us with how able they are and how well they navigate the world. God bless 'em.

A Novel Woman said...

Oh, I hear ya, sistah.

jeanie said...

The hardest lesson in life is letting loved ones make their own mistakes.

Bill of Wasilla said...

Your daughter appears to be going a good thing - setting out to pursue her own ambition.

And you are doing a good thing by stepping back to allow her to do so without interference.

Kelly said...

A wise woman you are.... and wise comments from all.

I hope things turn out well for her.

Plentymorefishoutofwater said...

Yep you just have to let them live and learn - that's what we all did. Great post.
I blog about my disastrous dates/sexual embarrassments/pursuit of my hairdresser - check it out: http://plentymorefishoutofwater.blogspot.com/

Bob said...

She will make bad choices at times, Debby, just as you did, just as we ALL have; and she might even fail, and from that failure she will grow and learn, as we all have.

My dad was a good man but he always discouraged me when I took initiative and wanted to carry out my own ideas. It marks me to this day.

And yes, you have put your children's needs before yours. That's the irony of the little buggers. They suck the life right out of you, and you would literally lie right down and die for them, and through all of that you are greatly fulfilled.

Great words here, as usual.

quid said...

I don't know how old she is, Debby.

My daughter made a poor choice at the age of 19, and when it didn't work out, she hid from us. We hired a private investigator in 2001 to find her, and even after finding her and allowing her to make her way home again once she had forgiven herself and understood that we were forgiving, not forcing.

She continued to make smaller poor choices for the next 3 years, but yet, has emerged, a little the worse for wear, but having learned about what is important in life through her own hardships.

I honestly think that is the only way we learn life's lessons. You make a particular quote in this post that stirred me, so much like my own life as it was. I hope you won't mind if I lift it to my own blog.

Now I'll go get a Kleenex and dry my eyes. Your writing sometimes does that to me.

quid

Cara said...

Oh goodness, mom. I'm applying for a different job, not giving up my education for drugs and alcohol, lol. You crack me up. This job is almost the same as an RA job, I'll just get a free apartment out of the deal, instead of just a free room! And I'd get to have the experience of living with friends again, I miss that. Much like being a parent, the RA and CAR jobs force me to put everyone else's needs on my floor (or apartment buildings) before my own. The difference between the two is, instead of coming home and throwing myself into bed alone after a hard day, I will have a supportive network of friends that I can relax with. It's the best of both worlds. I won't get paid, but I am going to pick up a small job on campus (10 hours a week as a tour guide) to supplement my income. Have some faith. If I don't get the job perhaps I will have to resort to dropping out and drowning my sorrows in drugs and alcohol... but not today. If I don't get this, I will get something else. If there's one thing that I am, it's well networked.

WhiteStone said...

LOL. Cara, we all knew this had nothing to do with drugs and alcohol. I came back to read what others commented and lo, and behold, here you are. I know that you are just exactly like my own daughter, completely able, definitely competent, highly secure in the fact that your mother loves you. And, yep, my daughter is always sure of herself, too, in spite of the fact that I tend to be a wuss when it comes to change and risk, whether it be job wise, house, or car, or whatever life choices are out there. Your mom and I both have the "mother hen" syndrome. Our chicks have escaped the coop and we're still fluffing our feathers and clucking and worrying about their well-being. Bless ya!

PaintedPromise said...

wow. life is constant mirrors... having issues with my youngest daughter's choices right now. ben thinking about e-mailing you for private discussion of same... this spurs me to think i should. when i find the time, i will! don't hold your breath lol, life is insane right now...

Cara best of luck to you! you are SO LUCKY to have Debby for your mom!!! i can only hope to be a mom like her (and can only wish i had a mom like her)