Last night, my daughter came home from work, stood in my bedroom doorway, and confessed about a personal life crisis then started to cry. I was lying in my bed, so I held out my arms and she came running across the room and climbed up. It was freezing in our house and she wasn’t wearing a sweater, so I held up the covers and let her crawl inside. I wrapped my arms around her, stroked her hair, and let her cry. Sometimes, that’s the only thing a mother can do.
It does not matter that she is 22, has her own place, pays for her car, and has a full-time job. She is still my baby. My place is not to judge her “bad choices” (her words, not mine). My place is to offer comfort and safety in the storm of her life. I told her that we all make stupid choices at 22. That she shouldn’t worry unless she’s 30 and making the same bad choices. That as far as life crises go, this is far from the worst thing that could happen. That she needs to realize she is worth so much more than she values herself. That this isn’t the last life mistake she’ll experience.
I couldn’t help but be proud of all the emotional progress she’s made on her own lately. Even just a few months ago, she would never have told me and instead, would have suffered in silence. She finally talks to me and I’m not about to destroy that by judging her. I think that’s the mistake that a lot of parents make when it comes to their kids not talking to them. What we forget is that we wouldn’t judge a toddler for choking on a small toy, because they don’t know any better. The same thing applies to teenagers and even young adults. They are biologically stupid because their brain is mush. While we think they should know better, the truth is that the judgement center of the brain is essentially jello at that age, so they physically can’t distinguish between what they should and shouldn’t do.
Today and tomorrow, she is spending the night over here so I can make sure she wakes up early in the morning, and so we can have pancakes for breakfast. I’ve been craving gingerbread pancakes. She requested that I make some gingersnaps. There’s nothing like cold weather to make her want baked goods and that’s an easy thing for me to provide.
As she continues to move forward, I am right behind her, ready to catch her when she falls. Not if, but when. Because we all fall, no matter what our age. We all make stupid choices. We all need a warm cookie and hot cocoa every now and again. And no matter how old we are, we all need our mommies. Not all of us have one, but we all need one. I’m eternally grateful that I can be the mommy that my daughter needs right now. I am her mommy, and she will always be my baby.