Mental illness. The term itself is intimidating. For me, it brought back shrouded stories from my youth of friends and relatives who suffered the colloquial ‘nervous breakdown.’ Back then I didn’t know what that meant.
I truly believed I could handle my adult child’s estrangement on my own. After all, I had dealt with countless personal and family issues: my spouse’s cancer, infertility, kids with learning issues, my own struggle with depression, and more. While I coped, these all took their toll.
Martin Luther said, “You cannot keep birds from flying over your head, but you can keep them from building a nest in your hair.”
Last month I wrote an article about how to deal with estranged adult children. It was in the choppy wake of Mother’s Day. Many of us were feeling the heightened sting of loss.
Another Mother’s Day has come and gone. It was filled with both blessings and pain.
Mothering is like that. Not too long ago, one of my children was estranged from me. It was not how I envisioned a relationship with an adult child. At the time, I wasn’t completely sure where she was living and had no reliable way to contact her.
When your child was three years old, you had one way to communicate. Due to their immaturity, chances are you were more directive and direct with them. “Don’t touch the hot stove!” or “Let’s go use the potty!” These were the ways we communicated based on the needs of the moment.
Like many moms, I gave my all to mothering.
All my energy and creativity. Mothering grew and shaped me in ways I could not have imagined. But time, toddlers and teens have marched on. The days of up-to-my-elbows mothering have drawn to a close.