Tag Archive for: adult children

Seizing the Moment

Sweet chip cookies with dry cranberry,selective focus

Sitting in my kitchen drinking my morning tea, I had my to-do list in hand. All those things I didn’t get done last week!!

If you are like me, sometimes I obsess over what hasn’t gotten accomplished. Life is good when things are being removed from my to-do list. It’s finished…time to celebrate by marking it off the list!! When nothing leaves the list…it obviously was a bad week…or is it?

As I started thinking about all the things that had gotten in the way of a successful week, I felt God’s gentle nudge.

“Debbie, success in your eyes is getting THINGS done. Think back to what happened last week. Was it really a bad week? Would you want to trade the time you would have spent doing something on this list over what you did?”

Hmm…

In my mind, the replay of my week began.

My son had text me the night before he was to come home from college for fall break. “Mom, would you mind coming to get me? I don’t think I need to be driving home. I’m sore from getting hurt in a basketball game and don’t think it would be wise for me to be on the road.”

Luckily, I had looked at the situation as a sign of maturity rather than in light of my to-do list. My 19 year old had put enough forethought into the fact that he shouldn’t be driving because of his pain!! Of course I went to go get him!

It cost me six hours of driving time over a four day period, but it was time that we spent together…talking and catching up on each other’s world. It eased us back into the “back to normal” relationship we had before he left for school. I wouldn’t have traded it for a moment!

So what else did I do? I took my son to a couple of doctors since he didn’t have his car home to drive himself. We talked, we spent time together laughing, joking, and talking about how walking into one of the doctor’s offices was like going to visit family! It wasn’t a burden…it was good!!

We even had lunch at his favorite restaurant.

The joy I saw on his face while he was eating his favorite meals I had taken time to fix, made my time well spent. We laughed about how tired he was with the cafeteria food on campus and the only pizza place in the small college town wasn’t a national chain. It was good to watch how he was learning to appreciate the small things in life…even my cooking!

Then there was worship together on Sunday morning and the discussion of the sermon on the ride home of how he could implement it in his own life. We talked about churches he had visited near the college campus. Wow, he’s starting to think so much more deeply having been on his own for less than three months. One of life’s joys!

Yes, he asked if I would do his laundry…and I did (not grudgingly because I knew the pain he was in). As I pulled out what I thought would be a mountain of stinky stained college kid shirts that had probably shrunk from being in too hot of a dryer and sheets that had probably been on the bed since he left, I was amazed to see that it wasn’t at all what I expected! He had obviously learned the secret of washing clothes that would even make his grandmother proud. An opportunity to affirm his movement into self-sufficiency and give him kudos for a job well done!

Then I remembered the “cookie request”.

“Mom, it sure would be great if you could make another batch of cookies for the guys in the dorm.”

How could I turn that down?

His roommate had even jumped on Skype with us one night about a month ago thanking me for the best cookies ever. So with a heart of joy and contentment, I made a batch of cookies for him to take back to his new friends…my gift of love.

While the thought of the week made me smile, laughing that I had thought that my unaccomplished tasks on my to-do list were more important, a wave of sadness also surrounded me.

Why had I not taken those opportunities with all my kids?

What was so important that it couldn’t have waited?

I rejoiced that I had finally learned to live in the moment rather than thinking about all those things not done…but how many opportunities had I squandered? How many times have I forfeited relationship with my kids for THINGS on my to-do list?

I had no idea what that text to go get my son from college would teach me. But I’m learning…

Psalm 46:10

“Be still and know that I am God”

As our children get older there will be less time to connect. Seize every opportunity and be in the moment when they desire our time and service. Be still…listen to their desires and dreams…fill their cups to overflowing with your love…that way, they’ll want to come back for more.

Respect the fact that they are becoming adults but sometimes still want to just enjoy having mom or dad be there for them.

DARE YOU to respond to a reasonable request of your time from your tween, teen, or twenty-something without listing all the things you won’t get done because you are being there for them.

DOUBLE DARE YOU to initiate some time to take your kid out for some one-on-one time at their favorite restaurant or ice cream place talking about their world.

Hoping to re-establish patterns to live in the moment!

“Let Go… and Let God”,

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Dare 4 – The Respect Dare – The Vision

Now that I’m officially established in my role as a mother of 20-somethings, I’m finding myself listening more intently to other parents’ comments about interactions with their adult children. As I process what they are saying, it makes me think about how I might be coming across to my own kids.

I thought I’d share a couple of dialogues as we talk about visioning because we can learn a lot from others’ success and failure. If it works for them, it might work for us. If it “ain’t workin” for them, why try it?

Here’s one that I had to laugh about!
Obviously, names have been changed to protect those who were complaining.

“He knew I wanted the grandkids this weekend!” Kelly responded, obviously miffed.

“What happened?”

“He’s mad and won’t let me have them this weekend. He said I’m getting too possessive of his kids! Of course I’m possessive! They’re my grandchildren!”

“What triggered him saying that?”

“Oh, I got upset with him for taking the kids to see Marla’s parents on a weekend that I was supposed to have them.”

“Well, isn’t it good that the kids got to spend time with their other grandparents?”

“Yeah, but does it have to be on my weekend? Ron and Marla know that I get the kids every other weekend when I’m not working. I can’t believe that he thinks he can just decide which weekends I don’t get them!”

Hopefully, you all are laughing saying “what is she thinking”! Obviously…she isn’t.

Here’s a contrast of a different interaction.

“Tonya, I know that you know how I feel about your decision. You can’t have lived under our roof for 18 years without knowing the values that your dad and I have tried to teach you. But, you are an adult at 20. I recognize that it is your choice and not mine, but I want you to know that I think this is a decision you will later regret. Regardless of the decision you make, your father and I will still love you. I will be praying that you will change your mind because that’s my job as a mother, but again, it is your decision.”

“Mom, thanks for recognizing that it is my decision. I know this is hard for you, but I think it is the right choice for me.”

((HUGS)) happened here.

Is either scenario a reflection of you?

James 1:23-25

Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.

I don’t know about you, but I want to be a doer of the Word. I want my reflection as a parent to give freedom. I want to be blessed in what I do. I want to be mom in the second story…the best “launching” mom on the planet!

So I decided to take Nina’s Dare and apply it to me as a parent!

Remember, this is where I want to be…not where I am. I’m creating a vision for how I want to parent my 20-somethings!

I am a woman who has the strength to recognize that her “babies” are now adults. I continue to share my wisdom, but I will do it like I would to my best friend, asking permission but recognizing that some decisions are not in my control. No matter what challenging circumstances come my way, I will respectfully allow my children to make their own choices and work through their own consequences, leaving them in God’s capable hands. I have peace recognizing that each of my children is on the journey that God has for them in this stage of their life. My phone will ring often because my adult children will want to have relationship with me. They will come to me for wisdom or just to talk. They see me as a friend who knows them well. I will use this time with children out of the house, to rekindle the sparks in my relationship with my spouse. As I walk in this new phase of parenting, I will find my identity in how I am to spend my additional time by seeking God daily relying on Him for encouragement, wisdom, and happiness.

Dare you to write your own vision for this phase of life.

Double dare you to share it by posting it on my blog.

Walking the journey with you!

“Let go…and let God”,

Debbie

Be sure to follow other bloggers as we go through Nina Roesner’s book The Respect Dare. You’ll find Leah blogging to wives with young kids and Nina blogging about marriage. We’re only on Dare 4, so if you are just joining us, it won’t take long to catch up. Join us on our 40 week journey!


Dare 3 – The Respect Dare – Personal Assessment

Tanya sat on the stool at Leanne’s kitchen island sipping her steaming tea. She loved these opportunities talking to her friend as the sun was shining through the entry. They were talking about their grown children, laughing at their new “freedom” with kids out of the house.

Leanne’s cell phone vibrated on the counter. “Excuse me just a minute, I need to take this,” Leanne muttered. “It’s Jenny. I’ll let her know that I’ll call her back.”

As Tanya listened to the short conversation, she let her mind wander. “Why don’t my kids call me like that?” she thought.

As Leanne hung up with her daughter, Tanya asked. “Do your kids call you every day?”

“Well, not all of them,” she laughed. “Depends on which one it is. With four kids that are twenty-something, they lead pretty busy lives. Jenny usually calls daily through the week on her way home from work, Darcie usually calls every two or three days unless she is struggling with something, then I may hear from her two or three times a day! Marty usually calls every day or so, and then Mitch typically calls at least every week or two.”

“Wow, that’s hard to fathom. My kids rarely call. I feel so disconnected from their lives.”

“You sound a little disappointed,” Leanne ventured.

“Yeah, I really am, I guess. For some reason, family doesn’t seem that important to my kids. It seems that the only time we talk is if I initiate the conversation.”

“I take it you’d like to be more connected to their lives?”

“Of course! I just don’t know what we did wrong.”

“Can I offer a suggestion?” asked Leanne. With a nod from Tanya, she began, “Don’t focus on what you may have done wrong. No one will win with that logic. Why not try to think about steps you could take to build the relationship? It might not become exactly what you want it to be, but it could become a lot better.”

“But, how? I don’t think I would even know where to start!”

“Why not start with taking them out to lunch? Share with them what you are feeling. Tell them what you are hoping for the relationship to be. Find out what they are looking for in your relationship at this point in their lives. Ask how you can be there for them, and then reciprocate, letting them know what would help you feel engaged.”

“You make it sound so easy. It’s obviously working for you.”

“I’ll let you in on a secret. When each of my kids were making their big move out of the house, I took them out to lunch and told them how excited I was that they were heading out to their new adventure. I assured them that I was their number 1 fan and would always be here for them. I also told them that I wouldn’t be calling them regularly to ask lots of questions. I wanted them to feel independent. But, I also told them how much I loved them and that I hoped they would call me regularly so that I could know what is going on in their world. I told them I wanted to be their friend and hoped they wanted the same from me.”

“Wow. Wish I had done that. You seem to have real friendship going with your kids.”

“Tanya, it is not too late for you. Pray and engage with them…not as a mother, but as a friend. God will do the rest.”

Philippians 1:6

…he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

As parents, most of us long for relationship with our adult kids, especially our single twenty-somethings. Sometimes that means taking a personal inventory of who we are and how we attempt to connect with them. Too often, parents continue to “parent” their older kids, expecting them to still “obey”. When their adult children resist, feelings are hurt and relationships are stilted. Why not use this opportunity as we go through The Respect Dare together to assess where you might need to make changes in order to see your relationship with your children grow?

Here are a few questions to get you started. I hope you’ll pick two or three to focus on while we’re on this journey together.

  • Do I choose to live my life for God more than I am concerned about what other people think?
  • Do I let my twenty-something know (appropriately) what I am struggling with?
  • Does my twenty-something confide in me?
  • Do I know how to give advice to my twenty-something such that they hear it and often take it?
  • Am I still trying to control my twenty-something’s behavior and get them to do what I want them to do?
  • Do I make demands of my twenty-something and feel disappointed or angry when they don’t respond?
  • Do I communicate with my twenty-something so that they want to have relationship with me?

Moving into adult/adult relationship with our kids is tough. We are expected to give up control…and I’ll admit, sometimes that is a hard thing to do…especially at times when we might be footing the bill.

My hope for you is that above all things…Think relationship!

“Let go…and let God,”

Debbie

P.S. Hoping that you join Nina and Leah as we blog our way through The Respect Dare.