The Umbilical Cord

Isn’t life so very interesting? Here I am at 27 years of age, learning to let go of my mom. Learning to step out of my mother’s awesome shadow and to lead my own life. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that both of us are learning to let each other go. And while I have some inkling on what the struggle feels like on her end, I am right now more concerned with the struggle on my end.

Growing up, she had always been my chief confidante, chief counsel and a pillar of wisdom and strength. Her opinions still matter a lot to me, but I am trying again to find the proper balance between her voice and my own in my life at this stage.

Because the bond between us is so strong, it is an especially challenging task that we’re undertaking…this mother-daughter letting go business. It’s so complex I can’t even describe it. I feel that she’s doing quite a fine job on her end… I know I have been insensitive and selfish at times in my attempts to be independent, but she has never complained about how I treat her. She has an amazing patience, and a way of indirectly but powerfully getting her messages across to me at the right time, and in a very effective way.

I vascillate between insensitive forges of independence and over-protectiveness of my mom’s feelings. I still struggle to distinguish between the kernel of wisdom and truth in her words which I should heed, and the ‘flesh’ of her personal and cultural experience which I should be free to set aside if I discern it to be not relevant in my own life. I also still struggle between the desire to be her little girl, and the desire to move ahead into full, independent and adult womanhood.

In my journey, I have realized that the bond that ties me to my mother is not simple at all despite the wonderful relationship we have. However they have come to be, I have feelings of guilt and indebtedness, and a fear of disappointing her, that prevent me from freely and genuinely loving her.

But… I’m not too daunted because that realization didn’t come alone. I’m coming to see how every relationship, just like every person, is unique in its strengths as well as its flaws. Every person is broken in some way. So is every relationship. When I acknowledge the brokenness, I could choose to be angry and bitter. Or I could choose to forgive myself, and others, and see the brokenness as an opportunity for love to enter and heal, and for me to grow.

The greatest lessons from my journey these past months are going to help me in cutting my ‘umbilical cord’. And that is the growing understanding that letting go of someone is not abandonment. That genuinely loving actions should not be dependent on the fear of hurting my beloved. That everyone, including those much older and wiser than I, still need to go through growing pains, and I should not be afraid of witnessing it.

I am, as ever, a little pupil in God’s great classroom of love.

*************

I often say to friends that ‘everything happens for a purpose’. But often, the purpose does not begin to become evident until after the event has occurred.

I have been marveling at how one event that prompted me to embark on a journey is having such far-reaching consequences in my life. Remaining committed to my journey has naturally led me to re-evaluate multiple aspects of my life and I have already experienced several paradigm-shifts that I know is bringing me to a fuller and deeper appreciation of my life.

I feel profoundly humbled by God’s amazing love for me. I will continue walking. Please, Lord, continue to teach me!

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