It’s Tic-O Tuesday – week 2 of Stinkette not in my home. Week 2 of less tics and less sounds of her laughter streaming from her bedroom as she chats with her girlfriend over Discord.
I can’t say I’m thrilled about her absence. It’s not like she left because she got a scholarship to Harvard for computer design. The fantasy of who I thought she would be (a “HE” – let’s start with that small fact) is not what I expected. But at the same time, God didn’t ask me to take over for Him. Last I checked I’m not a mind reader, a fortune teller. And, um, it’s not like I’m exactly a New York Times best selling author (yet). I don’t get to decide what is best for my kid – I can barely decide what’s best for me!
So with my head fully extracted from my butt, let me also add that while I do miss my sweet child, I’m also incredibly grateful for the silence. Two years of wading through this particular phase of Stink’s development has been tiring. It’s lovely – we’re talking paradise – to have some peace and calm in the home.
If You Love Them Let Them Go
I realized over a year ago that if someone doesn’t want to be overly involved in your life, or if their attitude doesn’t jive with yours, the most loving thing you can do is to set them free. Why should I be the one that she has a reason to complain about? How about I just let her do what she wants and be here with open arms when she’s ready to move back? (Or, if that idea is a bit of a stretch, how about I at least fry up enough shells that should she want to have dinner with us we’re ready to go?)
The bottom line (achieved from over 7 years of diligently practicing a spiritual program): No one, not even my own child, will keep me from experience the joy that is mine for the making. Being sad when things don’t turn out as I expected is normal, but not being able to sleep out of worry, thinking I’m single handedly responsible for her happiness/self-esteem or being devastated over every single non-returned email or phone call is not motherly love. It’s co-dependency, and I’m not playing that game anymore. I suck at athletics – and this particular back and forth sport has proven to make me a loser again and again. (I’ve always been picked last at gym, so why I think running to the front of the “I can make everything better” line is going to end well for me I don’t know.)
Loving my child so much it hurts is part of being a mother. But letting a child keep me from experiencing all the juice life has to squeeze because they are willfully choosing a different path is enmeshment. And who says, by the way, her path is wrong? I had to experience a lot of dead ends before I was willing to stop being a victim and take the reins of my own life.
Today, despite the heat (oh my God it was so HOT) and despite a long day of work with my non-English speakers who, for the record, I still Me Gusta Sus Caras, I made time for my animated movie. (Act 1 done, Act 2 well on its way. Yes, same camel script. The musical was complete, and a lovely mentor writer loved it, but the whole outline had to change, hence the do-over. You might say I needed to make it a better 3-hump-structure!)
I took a phone call from a producer for my Hallmark script (fingers crossed it sells!)
I indulged in some lovely boba therapy with Evie and laughed with Rex as he stirred the taco meat and I played Christmas music because, well, 110 degree weather feels a bit less exhausting when “Let It Snow” is booming through Alexa.
And while I will always miss my little Stink at the table, I hold out hope that she’ll be back one day to eat with us. (She’s only right across the street – sheesh!) But at the same time, I have absolutely surrendered whatever the outcome of that hope is. Stinkette gets to choose what she does with her time with zero manipulation or begging from me.
And I get to choose mine. Do I cry sometimes? Of course! But then, with those tears gone, I welcome the new experiences. I choose love and laughter and tacos with rubber mariachi ducks. I choose ridiculous pit bulls and obnoxious middle schoolers and videos of camels. I choose holiday music in September and Shabbats on Friday and church on Sunday. I choose sobriety over mind-altering substances and absolute refusal to look at life through a negative lense. I’m putting on my heart glasses, as my friend Laurie likes to say, and choosing to look through life through the lense of love.
And today, friends, you can choose it also. May you make the decision to enjoy your life. Don’t let heat, cranky kids, stalled careers or less than ideal mate’s (or no mate) keep you from rightfully experiencing the magic that is part of your every day life. Someone out there is praying for the stuff you’re so busy complaining about and being miserable over. Pass the tacos and pass the joy – life is so short. Ole!
And for my Tourettes mamas, remember: If you can’t fix the tics, fix yourselves!
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