For those who have shared my family’s journey over this past year, I thought I’d give you an update. Our family continues to progress on the road to recovery and we are doing well.Allison came home for family Thanksgiving from college (UC Santa Cruz). As the long weekend wound down, we both wished we had had more time for one another. But what I’ve learned is that sometimes all it takes is sneaking in a moment here, a moment there. As soon as she got home, we jumped on my bed and like girls do, we talked and talked. She caught me up on what fills her days, the new friends, the new experiences… and I listened. If there is one thing I am most proud is that I have evolved my listening skills as a mother of a young adult and it is different.
~~ I listen with the intent of letting her share her new life independent of “us”.
~~ I listen remembering not to react by treating her like a child, but rather the young woman she is becoming.
~~ I listen with a kind of objectivity that evolving parents must transition to if we are intent on keeping the lines of communication open.
~~ I listen to validate and assure my total acceptance of who she is today.
And I was rewarded with Allison’s comment: “Mom, I’m so happy that we can talk about so many different things and I can be honest with you.” Our talks range from the serious to lighthearted. I love laughing with her.
Like many parents who had their first year college student return for the holiday, you may have realized that reconnecting with friends was his or her priority. And though it was a bit disappointing for me, objectively I get it. I’ve learned that comments like the one above, the spontaneous hugs, and “I love you guys” as she rushes out the door to meet her friends are ways she expresses her genuine connectedness with us. So how can I stay disappointed about that?
Our family crisis has taught me what it truly means to love and support unconditionally. I am so respectful of all the work Allison continues to put forth towards her continued road to recovery, her road to becoming her own person. And for that, I am continually grateful.