One of things I enjoy most about sharing our work here on WordPress through the Reader is commonalities of feeling and ideas we find with other writers. One of my favorite insights of the day is the blogger Chalkboard Quotes, which I’m sharing in my post today. It put me in touch with events in my own life when I remember painful moments when I said something I really knew to be true, but which I never should have shared with that person. Sadly, this has happened most often in my life with my four children…..not when they were children, but when they became adults. I had to learn how to be a mother of adults. It took me a while, and I’m still learning, still sometimes awkwardly or painfully. Our children grow up. Our job as parents seems to be phases. As children, we teach and protect and enjoy so much. As adolescents, we must let them grow toward adulthood, toward the person they will become, totally individual and separate from us. There is still protection here, yes. It’s tricky. Give them some freedom, they do well with the responsibility for themselves and their actions, so we give them more. If not, we pull back a bit, then let them try again. Over and over. There is still love and joy in parenting adolescents, but the joy is somewhat dimmed in the day to day struggle. At some point in their young adulthood, we negotiate really letting go. Really hard. And then we do. Sometimes more successfully than others, but then we do, because we must, let go. We know they are adults. We know, that as we did, they will live life, good and bad. Learning from mistakes. Gaining wisdom, we hope. We pray that they will learn to love. and to be loved in a healthy way. That they will be able to embrace life whole-heartedly, surviving pain and finding peace. When we see them in one of those moments of unwise choices, it has been my mother’s instinct to tell them what I see. But I can’t totally understand everything that they experience. My children are as separate from me as they were as they left my body and breathed their first breath. It took me a long time to understand that that experience is a foreshadowing of our parting into separate lives. Yet, over the years, I have come to see that progression: within, without, apart, as something to be cherished. Friendship is a part of that, yes, but I am still mother and they are still my children. Our relationships have become richer as we now relate to one another as adults. Do I sometimes wish I had bitten my tongue? Oh, yes. Sometimes it is a momentary or week-long spat. But more painfully, interjecting myself inappropriately has sometimes caused estrangement and then reconnection later. The Chalkboard led me to this reflection today. I recommend them. And thank them. This reminded me of a poem I wrote years ago, about relationships in all their intimacy and complexity. It’s in my chapbook Spent. See my About for publisher link if interested : ) Sorry. But today I realized how much the short, little reflection in poetry actually applies so deeply with this issue of parenting adults. In the original subject and intent, it feels absolutely true and meaningful in respect to living out choice and consequence in relationships, but upon rereading it, I have found a new interpretation. I’m glad. It’s been enlightening. I’m sharing it separately in a post now. Its title is Can of Worms.