Saturday, September 5, 2009

Stepping back is easy now



Well, this week went off without a hitch...almost. The littles had a good first week of school. We have really fallen into a good routine and I don't feel the anxiety that I remember from last year. Little #4 started his Fall baseball leauge practices on Wednesday and I was able to drop him off and not be filled with fear that he might be nervous. Last year I cried at every game, watching him struggle because his baseball skills were not at the same level as the other players. I was quite an emotional wreck a year ago.

Everything was running smoothly, I was feeling so at ease and peaceful and I was looking forward to what the next few months was going to bring. Of course the Universe has a way of mixing it up a bit. Just when you think that all is well, something happens and your ease and peace are tested. That is what happened to me. Not so little #1 got into some trouble. Actually she is in big trouble.

She has been in trouble before and I have always been filled with the pain of not knowing what to do. Not knowing how to help her. Wishing that she could be spared any pain. Telling her what I think she should do and then getting upset when she ignores my advice. In other words, I have always let her problems become my problems.

When I received her phone call yesterday, I was not filled with pain. I was not worried about what I could do for her. I was not wishing that she could be spared any pain. I know that this may sound odd, but I want her to feel some of the pain. She needs to suffer some consequences. I still love her with all my heart. That will never run out, but I will only be offering her emotional support. I will not make things easy for her. I love her too much to do that. I love me too much to do that.

My relationship with my oldest has been strained. I am just as responsible for that strain as she is. I have at some level allowed her to stay stuck in this downward spiral she is in. I only know one way to keep our relationship from completely disintegrating. I have to remove myself from her problems. I have to let her be the adult that she is. I have never been able to really do this. I have talked about the importance of letting her take care of her problems, but when it came down to stepping back I have never been able to take that step. Today I step back. I know that she has a long road ahead of her. She is on the way to hitting bottom and it is not going to be pretty, but it is absolutely necessary.

I love my 1st born so much. Lately, I do not like the things that she does, but my heart still loves her. I feel empathy for her, but I do not feel responsible for her. I wonder if my letting go of all the clutter that entombed me has helped me in being able to let go of her problems? I wonder if the strength I feel today comes from setting my spirit free from the excess physical clutter? I have so much inner strength right now. I truly feel like I can face any calamity that comes my way and still come out on top. Its a good feeling. I feel so empowered and content with who I am. I want that for my not so little #1, but she has to want it too.

Just my thoughts.

17 comments:

mercedes said...

Sigh... My oldest is only 14, but our relationship is strained, so I can relate.
Their journey, at any age, is just that. Their journey. I don't envy where you are, but I empathize.
Sometimes the best thing you can do for your children is to let them make their own mistakes and taste the bitter lessons that life can teach... No matter how hard it can be...
Sending big virtual hugs...

inkywasfat said...

As I read your post I was nodding my my head and saying, "Yes . . . yes . . . yes. It is hard to let them face the consequences, but we have to. Prayers ascending.

Stark Raving Zen said...

As not-so Little #1's aunt, I too am learning to step back from her disasters. I feel the reason it's coming so easy for me now is that I can honestly say there's nothing I haven't told her, regarding my thoughts on her life's mis-management. I've been honest; blatantly so... It's released my anger. I think before, when she messed up, the fury I felt was for myself. Because I was taking the easy route with her. The safe route. The I-like-my-status-as-favorite-aunt route. No more. I choose her over the stupid title. I've vowed to call it like I see it with her and it's set me free. I know I'm doing everything I can for her. Even if it hurts. I'm glad you're finding your own way too.

Caroline said...

I do think that getting rid of external clutter helps you release internal clutter too. I think you have really set your spirit free and feel less burdened. So go with this...let your daughter be herself (I am learning to do this and it's not easy...but necessary for their growth).

shiny mamaof6 said...

Mercedes - Thanks for the hugs. It is hard to watch our kids stumble, but you're right that it is the best thing for them.

Stacey - It took me a long time to get to this point, but now that I'm here I see the importance of consequences.

Kristy - I am glad that you have been able to release that anger. I love that you have chosen her over the title. I'm pretty sure that you still hold that title, however.

Caroline - I do feel less burdened that is for sure. I can finally say that I will let my daughter be herself. Now that I truly believe this it isn't quite so hard.

Muthering Heights said...

I'm sorry you two are going through a rough patch...I hope things get better soon!

shiny mamaof6 said...

Jessie - Thank you for visiting my blog and thank you for the kind words.

Lisis said...

I think you are on the right track by stepping back a little. You're right... she needs to feel a bit of the pain to understand the consequences of her actions.

If every time she makes a mistake you bubble-wrap her, so she doesn't feel the effects, she'll never understand the cause and effect relationship or how to fix the problems. She won't know to avoid "touching a hot pan" because she's never felt the pain of the burn.

It sounds awful to say or think these things about our own kids but, our job as moms is to raise self-sufficient adults who can function in society... not grown-ups who are perpetually dependent on us. At some point we have to start letting go.

I have to tell you, as a mother of ONE child, I am so impressed with you and other moms who can live multiple stages at once (teens, toddlers, babies, etc.). You are a strong, loving mom and I'm sure your kids KNOW that. :)

Megan "JoyGirl!" Bord said...

What an incredible post and what amazing comments from readers. I don't have any kids of my own, so all I can offer is positive energy and loving thoughts for all of you.
You wrote from such a strong, detached - but not at all indifferent - place. That's incredible to me...
Keep on shining, Jill!

septembermom said...

You have amazing strength Jill. Your love for your daughter is evident throughout this post. Although it is difficult, I think that she will appreciate your letting her navigate through these difficulties and handle consequences. My son is 12 and I expect to have difficult growing pains in our relationship. I will keep your post and refer to it so I can benefit from your experience and wisdom. Big hugs to you!!

Thanks for the birthday wishes! Happy birthday to you too, my friend.

Nina P. said...

If we always held onto the bike seat, little ones would never learn to ride solo. If we don't let them go to test their wings, they never learn to fly solo. Just as she came running to you with her first skinned knee after the bike tipped, you were there with love, hugs and a boo-boo kiss. When she falls again, you will be there with open arms, Love and a boo-boo kiss. It's a hard part of being a parent, but it is all part of growing up and teaching children how to fly on their own, be responsible for their actions, and be the best human being they can be. When all is said and done, you'll be there with Love, Hugs and boo-boo kisses each and every time she stumbles, encouraging her to go on and try again to be the best she can be. You sound like a Great Mom to me!! Love and Light, Nina P.

shiny mamaof6 said...

Lisis - I hope that I am strong enough to put away the bubble-wrap. I know that it is best for her and for me. I guess I'm prepared for the pain she's about to experience.

Megan - Thank you for the positive energy and the loving thoughts. I will need them in the coming weeks.

Septembermom - My strength seems to vary these days. Some days I feel strong and free. Other days I feel fear and pain. In the end I know that I will see clearly, however. Thanks for the hugs. I hope that your birthday was a true celebration of who you are.

shiny mamaof6 said...

Nina P. - Thank you so much for your kind words. They really reached me emotionally and spiritually. I will remind myself that I am helping her by letting her fall. I will be there to comfort her.

mermaid said...

Wow. To be able to just be there for a loved one and not fix the problem...it takes tremendous courage and presence.

May you continue to support her in ways that are healthy for you both.

Jan said...

Your thoughts are wonderful and so very honest. To be helpful parents, sometimes we really do need to step back and allow our children to learn from their errors in judgment. Prayers are still here. Believe, breathe, and be well. Truly! You are doing a good thing because the love still flows...

shiny mamaof6 said...

Mermaid - Boy is finding ways to support her that is healthy for both of us hard. I know that stepping back sounds simple, but it is definitely not easy.

Jan - Believe. Breathe. Be well. I'm trying. I'll take the prayers too. Thank you.

bettyann said...

I feel your pain..I have a lovely girl who continues to make screw-ups...this past year she moved away..I can still love her but not get myself trapped in her emotional life the same as I did before..it hurts but is worth it for her..hugs to you...thanks for sharing your pain..