Sitting on the back patio in the early morning savoring the spring sunshine and cup of coffee, Sally was still in her PJ’s. Their backyard was private enough that she loved going out there to spend quiet time with God. Her teens were already at school and Alex, her twenty-three year old son was at work. As she sat their contemplating Alex’s recent announcement that he would be moving out next month, Sally’s heart sang. Not that he was moving out, mind you, but that the year had been a success.
Shortly after graduation from college, Alex had announced that he had landed an awesome job nearby. “Would you mind if I live with you guys for a year to get my finances in order and pay down my student loans?” he asked.
Jeff and Sally were feeling good that their son was even willing to consider moving back in with them after being on his own for four years. “Alex, of course you can move back home!”
As the day drew closer for graduation, Sally decided to give Alex a call. “Son, you know that we love you and are happy to help you get on your feet financially this year. We just want to make a couple of things clear before you move all your stuff in. You know that we still have your younger brother living at home. I know you are now an adult, but for this to be successful we are going to need you to abide by the same rules that existed while you were living here in high school. We will expect you to be home at a reasonable hour and we will still want you to let us know when you are going somewhere and when you expect to be back.”
“Mom, I’m going to be working. That shouldn’t be a problem at all.”
“Alex, this is for one year. At that point, we’ll reassess. One more thing,” she paused. “You know that your dad and I love you with all our heart. I want this to be a good year. It isn’t going to be easy for us to have you back home and it isn’t going to be easy for you to live with the rules that you’ve had freedom from for four years. Can we agree that if you have a problem with something we’re doing, you’ll talk to us about it? The same goes for us. Our goal is that you won’t leave anxious for freedom again. Our goal is that when you leave here in a year, we’ll be good friends.”
“Mom, it will be fine. It will work. I promise.”
As Sally continued to enjoy her coffee, she smiled at what the year had meant to her and Jeff. They really were best friends with …
Just then her cell phone rang. “Mom, I need your help!” It was Alex. “I’ve done something really stupid and I need you to come get me at work.”
“Okay, let me get a shower and I’ll be there shortly. Maybe we can do lunch?”
“No, Mom, you don’t understand! I need you to get dressed and come get me now! You need to drive me to a client’s office and drive me back to work. I took the bus today, so my car is sitting at the park-n-ride. I’m sorry to take you away from whatever you are doing today, but this is serious. Please just come!”
Sally quickly sat her cup in the sink and was dressed and out the door within minutes.
The longer she was in the car for the 45 minute drive, the more upset she became. How dare her son think that whatever he was dealing with was more important than her day? No shower, no makeup, and she was driving to go solve whatever her 23 year old son had messed up! She needed to let him know that she couldn’t just drop everything for him. She had a life too.
As her angry thoughts took hold, she knew she was going to let him verbally have it! This is ridiculous! He’s 23 for heaven’s sake. It’s time to handle your own problems!
Just then the words from a couple of Daughters of Sarah scriptures took hold.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
…Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.
“Okay, Lord. I hear you,” she breathed. “Just listen. My job is to listen. This isn’t about me. I need to forget that he is my son and that I’m his mother. This is a friend who needs my help. I’m being the feet of Jesus to Him like I would any of my other friends.”
The more she prayed for Alex, not having any clue why she was actually going to pick him up, it dawned on her. “It must be a desperate situation for a 23 year old to feel the need to call his mother to come get him. That had to be really humiliating.”
“Respect! That’s it! I need to respect that he is a friend in need and not grill him on what he messed up this time.”
As parents, when our adult children need our help, we need to remember that most likely it is difficult for them to ask for our help. Our job is to listen and be available. It isn’t about them taking advantage of our generosity, sometimes it about us just being their friend.
“Let go…and let God”,
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