Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Visiting Daughters Come ... and Go

I love being the mother of an adult daughter. Well, I love being her mother; it’s just that now, we’re in this stage, and I just realized: this stage – unlike the others – is permanent!

The adult daughter interacts with us. She doesn’t hide out in her room, she doesn’t spend all her time disappearing with friends. And while she interacts, she says interesting, intelligent, compassionate things. We’re treated like human beings; we’re not embarrassments or dinosaurs or targets to vent frustrations on. (Been there, felt that.) We even get compliments. She observes us, says nice things about us.

We are all lucky I’m in my Third Third. Here’s an example: She was running a marathon, and I knew she’d be seconds away from making her hoped-for time. Tim and I met her at the bottom of the last hill, and we ran alongside, running her up the hill, pushing her pace, calling encouragement. Along the way, she shouted, “Stop running me in!”

Previous, Second Third Barbara (to herself): “Oh, no! I see other people running friends in. I was just trying to be supportive. I hate that she’s always embarrassed by me.”

Third Third Barbara (to herself): “Let it be.”

Later, the adult daughter said, “I was so worried that I’d be disqualified for having you run me in, like it was some sort of assistance.”

“But,” I said, “the guide encouraged it, said it was fine as long as we didn’t get in the chute.”

“Oh,” she said, “I didn’t know that.”

This is how adults talk with each other!

The adult daughter compliments you on all your cooking. She grabs leftovers from the refrigerator and eats them again and again. The adult daughter makes plans with you for a trip to New York. She pores over genealogy information, asks for your maternal grandmother’s maiden name so she can search out more data. She meets you for lunch, loves the little kids’ entrance door you show her at the library because you know that is right up her alley. We play many hours of Five Crowns on rainy nights.
The adult daughter never makes her bed, throws clothes every which way. The mother of the adult daughter makes the bed because that is her thing and she is so incredibly pleased that the adult daughter is home. The adult daughter finds a hole in her favorite running pants; the mother of the adult daughter mends it because she is good at that. The adult daughter thanks her effusively!
The adult daughter stays up very late, so the mother of the adult daughter stays up very late, too. They’re not really talking; the mother is just there, on the couch, reading nearby. It’s called “just being there,” and it was her whole principle in child-rearing and it’s there to be done again, so she does.

The only problem with the adult daughter? Adult daughters leave. They return home. The mother knows this, knows she gave her daughter wings, knows she’s soaring.

But when she leaves, that mother is so very, very sad.


Sharing Button