Karissa went into the guest bedroom, tears welling up within her. “Why did I even come? I love her, but I hate being around her!” she thought to herself. “Why is it that I can graduate from college with honors, go to work every day and get accolades for a job well done, be up for a promotion at the age of 24, and then come home and feel like I can’t do anything right? I’ve been here less than 15 minutes!” Dread for the coming week welled up within her. “I wish I had just stayed home.”
While Karissa was in the bedroom unpacking, her mom was busy in the kitchen in the kitchen fixing lunch. “A whole week with Karissa to myself!” she felt as light as a feather. “I get her all to myself.”
Karissa pulled herself together hoping her mom wouldn’t notice the tears. “Brace yourself!” she warned. “Just let her words go in one ear and out the other. Nothing she says can hurt me.”
As Karissa entered the kitchen her mother grabbed her and hugged her. “I’m so glad you are here! Sit, let’s eat! You need to put some meat on those bones, dear. You’ve lost too much weight!”
“Just busy I guess.”
“You’ve got your hair different. I like it, but you know I really like it shorter. You should cut about an inch off so way people will see your face better.”
“I like it this way, Mom. I get a lot of compliments on it.”
“So, Karissa, are you dating anyone yet? I know you want children someday.”
“No, Mom. No future husband in the wings. I’m sure he’ll show up when he is supposed to and I think I’ve got a few years left on my biological clock for children.”
“What about that guy, Dan, you were dating. I really liked him. You should see if he still has any interest.”
“He’s married now, Mom.”
“I knew you shouldn’t have let him get away.”
And on and on the conversation droned.
By bedtime, Karissa was ready for seclusion from her mother’s words. “Lord, I know Mom doesn’t say things with a malicious intent. It is as if she doesn’t even think about the way her words affect other people. Help me to not be so sensitive. Help me to just enjoy her.”
By day three, Karissa was having a tough time keeping it together. All she could think of was the end of the week and getting away from all the criticism and negative input from her Mother. She decided she had nothing to lose. In actuality, there wasn’t even a relationship from her perspective…so there really was nothing to lose.
“Mom,” she ventured that evening. “Can we talk about us, about our relationship?”
“Sure, honey, you sound serious.”
“Do you like having me here?”
“Do you like me for who I am?”
“You know I love you. I love you with all my heart.”
“I didn’t ask if you love me. I asked if you like me. Do you like me for who I am?”
“That’s a silly question.”
“Mom, I know you don’t mean to, but I feel like you are constantly telling me who I should be, what I should do, what I’m not doing. What I’m really saying is that I don’t think you respect me, for me…You read your Bible don’t you, Mom?”
“There’s a scripture in there that goes something like this. Philippians 4:8 Whatever is true, noble, right pure, lovely, and admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
“I know that verse.”
“Could you try meditating on that when you think of me? When I’m around you, I feel like I don’t measure up. I feel like you want to “fix” me into whatever your idea is of a “perfect” daughter. In reality, I don’t think you respect the fact that I’m an adult and my own person.”
“Karissa, that isn’t the way it is at all.”
“Mom, I’m not accusing you of anything. I’m just letting you know how it feels to me. There’s another verse you might want to think about too.”
A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.
“Mom, I want to feel like you cherish me as you would gold or silver. I want to be cherished like one of your best friends now that I’m an adult. Would you tell your best friend that you thought they should cut their hair, or wear a different color lipstick, or wear different shoes, or find a husband? I doubt it. But you still feel like you can say those things to me because in your mind I haven’t grown up.”
Moving our children into the adult world in our minds is difficult. We will always have a desire to mother them.
Dare you to choose your words carefully as you cherish this new adult to adult relationship.
“Let go…and let God,”
Be sure to join Nina and Leah as they blog through The Respect Dare for wives and young mothers.
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