I have always wanted a close family. I didn't have one as a child, so my goal as an adult was to create my own close family. Thus the hubs and 4 kids. I have always wanted my kids to feel like they can talk to me, that I am for them. Nothing shocks me anymore so they know they can tell me anything. I want to be approachable and comforting to them. For the most part that is what we got. Molly tells me A LOT, sometimes I wonder if I should be putting my fingers in my ears and humming to myself....."I can't hear you!" Big brother calls for recipes and dog advice and just to say hi at least once a week. My girl is quiet and doesn't talk to anyone about her most private thoughts, but every now and then, when we are driving in the car together, and I least expect it....she will start to talk...and I listen. Little one is like her big sister....doesn't like to talk a lot or for me to ask questions. When she is ready, she will spill it all out and again, I listen.
Today a friend and I were talking about living with addiction and how I do not have the answers for my girl. The thinking was that if she is turning to me for advice, we both are in dangerous territory...for a couple reasons. 1. I would love to fix everything for her and get it all neatened up into a tidy little package and present it all back to her, ready for her to live it out.....if the truth be told. No matter how much Alanon I have in me, this may always be the deep dark truth about me. Do I act on those wantings and thoughts......no. Well, not always. Do they pollute my words and my actions with my girl.....probably, a little bit. I would love to have the answers for her and she would love for me to have them too. But I don't. 2. If she is turning to me and my vast fountain of wisdom (that contains nothing for her.....because I have never struggled with the issues she struggles with) because that is what is comfortable for her, then maybe I am getting in the way of her seeking answers from people who really could share their wisdom with her. Maybe I am enabling her to stay where she is comfortable vs. seeking help outside of her comfort zone.
I hated this conversation when I was in it. I felt defensive and mad almost. I explained that I have always wanted my kids to be close to me. How do I have a close relationship with my girl, but not let her talk to me about her life? How do I shut that door on this child who I have tried to maintain some form of connection with for so very long?
Then my friend said it....."it might not always be this way." I always forget that! I forget that my girl and I both have a Higher Power that is working on our behalf, that we both have our own programs, that we both have our own journey's, that being close is not the same as being enmeshed. That I can let go and still love her. When she does talk to me, and I would never tell her to stop.....I can listen. I can respond with the thought that I don't have the answers for her, but I am confident in the fact that she knows where to find them and how to apply them in her own personal life. I can step back and love her fully and be close to her while showing her that I can be trusted to not step on her autonomy, on her free will, or the consequences of her choices.
Its a lot of work to learn new ways of relating to one another. A lot of work! But I do think its worth it. It feels better than the old ways that I used to do things.