Better, but not easier?

Riya came to me this week with a problem from school.  She’s old enough now that I don’t feel comfortable discussing the details all over the internet.  Something struck me as we talked, though: it’s not really all that much easier to be the mom of the kid going through a tough time than it is to be that kid.  Especially when I, the adult, still struggle with some of the very same questions.

I’ve had three relationships disintegrate or fade away over the last few months.  The three people involved are completely unrelated; if the timing hadn’t been so close together I would possibly not have noticed any kind of trend in this at all.

In the case of the first two, I just … stopped.  An unanswered email is its own kind of answer, I figured.  With the third, I tried to hold on, tried to force the issue, and it blew up, painfully, spectacularly, in my face.

I’ve wondered since, what could I have done differently?  Was there something I said or did that made these friendships go sour in the first place?  If I’d made more of an effort in the first two cases, backed off in the third, said things differently or better or not at all, would it have changed the way things turned out?

It’s not a thing I’m brooding over; it’s not ruining my life the way it would’ve in elementary school.  It just pops up every now and then, especially when my daughter comes to me, frustrated and sad.  Because the answer to all those questions in the last paragraph is, quite simply, “I don’t know.”

But because I’m her mom, I have to give some kind of answer, and even while I was speaking I realized the truth of it for myself, too:

“You cannot control what other people will think or do.  All you can do is be yourself, and you will find friends who like you for who you are.”


About Grape

I've got the world's best kids and husband. Great house, steady job. I'm living the American dream. The trick is to appreciate it. I'm working on that part.
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4 Responses to Better, but not easier?

  1. April says:

    Well said, Julie!

  2. Sherrie Kuchinski says:

    Very well put. I enjoy reading your writing.

  3. Jennifer says:

    That is a resounding theme in my parenting. You can only control what you do. Nothing else. No one else. It’s so hard to watch your children learn these lessons, but they are so important. Press On Julie!

  4. Sara Jahn says:

    I have been struggling with this myself, but I have been reminding me of the words my mom said to me when I was younger:

    “Friends will come and go in your lifetime. It isn’t a bad thing, they are just there when you need them the most during those different obstacles that you will face throughout life.” It doesn’t make it easy all the time, but hopefully more copeable.

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