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Holding Back – How hard is how sweet its fruit

Even though this is about a young adult, it plays out when children are very young, and everywhere in between as well.

A potentially life-pivoting loaded event has recently come and gone in my young adult child’s life. And I haven’t heard a peep. The alarm bells went off in my head.

Parts of my brain searched for possible explanations. Inquiring minds wanted to know. (e.g., caring-wanting-joy-for-my-child as well as fearing-for-her-disappointment-and-pain mind)

That was and is my problem.

As many times as I picked up the phone and refrained (less than a handful – I’m giving myself kudos); and as many times as I forced myself to shift my body to doing something else so my mind’s thoughts and feelings might follow (really giving myself kudos for that!); that’s how many times I was subconsciously working on “getting” the message that her not sharing was hers. And the more time that passed the more clear I became.

My pausing long enough for that to happen was crucial. Having created a suspension of time and space, I emerged seeing a broader, deeper, and fuller picture of what the moment was calling for from me.

First and foremost honor her need for time to process on her terms.

I also needed to honor my need.

The breakthrough happened when I turned away from my “inquiring mind” need, and turned towards figuring out the pure need that served both of us. I had to dig through layers. It emerged when I asked myself, “What had I wanted her to feel from me in the phone call I’m craving?”

In the asking, I knew. So I texted her:

“I’m completely confident in you to have all sorts of internal and external resources for navigating whatever you’re going through.

Know I’m sending love.

If you choose to use me, it’s as another resource, and/or a refueling station or rest stop.

It’s not a validation of feelings/thoughts of discouragement/defeat/failure/superstition. Love you, Sweetie. With all my … (our family’s particular love sign-off)

Two minutes later she texted me “Love you”.

No matter how young or old your children are, you get to consider this mindset, strategy, this form and facets of deeply connecting. The fruit it bears – short term and long, in front of us or at a distance – is sweet beyond description.

So here I am, still longing for her call, yet with a huge smile, thinking about her emerging on the other side of her experience, all the stronger for having gone through it her way in her time at this particular juncture in her evolution. And mine.

P.S. She called that night, chatting, nonchalant, comfortable in the as-is-ness of the event. How sweet it is! (nod to The Honeymooners )

As I’m writing, it occurs to me that this applies to what I want you to feel as well: If you choose to use me, it’s as another resource, and/or a refueling station or rest stop. It’s not a validation of feelings/thoughts of discouragement/defeat/failure/superstition.

Know I’m sending you love, too – a universal and personal parent-to-parent love.

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