Yesterday was Titus/ Mimi Day!! We haven’t had one in over a month and I had been missing him. We went to visit my Mother in Law and she so loved it. She can’t remember who he is but knows he is special. Then, home where I had to remind my teenager to finish his English paper before attempting anything else.
Our lives are full of these moments of contrast. It seems in relationships we have to constantly be adapting to different roles. And within the role itself we must change as the years go by. The role of mother to a baby is different than it is to a toddler, teenager or adult child. The role of daughter as a child is vastly different than it is when caring for an aging parent with dementia. Sometimes, I feel I have to adapt myself to meet these ever changing relationships and work to figure them out. With plenty of time to ponder this, while playing in the sandbox, soaking up the sunshine and cuddles from the cutest grandson ever, I had an aha moment. It is not really a change within me, that makes life much too complicated to feel I must constantly change (while of course I want to continue growing and learning also, it is a different feel than changing who I am, because a relationship needs to adapt.)
Then it hit me, Boundaries!! This should not be a surprise, since I think boundaries are the most amazing freeing thing ever!! (Growing up as a youngest in a big family this idea took me years to implement, but once I got it, I really was able to live as if a huge weight had been removed from my shoulders.)
Maybe it is time to write another boundary explanation blog, but for today I will just say- When you have a healthy boundary, you can separate your thoughts, ideas, feelings, acts, beliefs… from others thoughts etc. In the case of adapting relationships and roles I need to adapt how I respect others boundaries. With a baby, whose existence totally depends on me, there really is little separation. I do need to care for myself in order to remain sane and healthy to meet all the needs this child has. As a toddler, they are beginning independence, but with little experience and knowledge. Yes, you can walk all you want on the sidewalk, but not in the street. Do you want to wear the red pants or the green ones? A teen is tricky, these almost adults who really think they are ready to run their lives. I can release the boundary quite a bit, while showing there are consequences for choices. It is fine for you to blow off your homework, but there will be no workouts or video games until this grade is brought up.
The great thing about kids is we gradually can let go and with adult children, they are the ones asking for advice and rather than controlling them, I can encourage their decisions and support them even if I do not agree. I do tell myself someday they will be handling all my affairs and be changing my diapers at some point! It is hard with elderly parents to be going the opposite direction. Slowly taking more and more control as life circumstances dictate. No, you cannot drive anymore. This is where you must live. I will take you to the store and you can choose what to buy, but I will handle all the money. It seems so strange to treat another adult this way, especially knowing I will be taking more and more responsibility rather than less. This is the circle of life and while not easy, it happens.
Through it all, I don’t have to change. I can still be the same person, with my ideas, values and purpose. I will always be loving, full of faith, and having fun in every relationship. This simple rethinking helps me to relax and release the pressure and overwhelming feelings that come when I am running around from one life event to another. There is nothing better than a sunny day in a sandbox to bring clarity and new insights!