My daughter and I, despite a 30 year age difference, are so extraordinarily close that several friends have repeatedly said that they thought that we had one heartbeat; Siamese twins of sorts. We shared everything!
Consequently, it was only natural for us to share dating experiences. She was in high school when I started seriously exploring companionship choices. Date nights were fun! As we were dating simultaneously, we nonchalantly planned our activities. In fact, for the first time, I was seeing the latest movie releases often times before her. How cool, right?
Needless to say, as a divorcee, I had become “rusty" with my dating acumen. Admittedly, I need assistance and her helping hands were there. Wardrobe was an issue. "Mommy, I want you to look cute," and that she did! It was an amazing feat as I am an ultra-conservative and she is a fashionista; but it worked.
After dates, she inquisitively asked a superfluity of questions. I delightfully shared my date nights with her. Up to this point, no serious conflicting views existed; all was well in our world.
But when she graduated from college, things changed. The metamorphism that transformed my little girl into a woman occurred. We had now become two women talking as girlfriends. Inevitably, conflict was bound to occur; and it did.
Her unyielding opinions materialized into critiques of my male choices, their indifferences and insensitivities. In time, her flavored comments fluidly flowed as she revealed her dissatisfaction about not only my male companion’s actions, but my acceptance thereof. "He's not good for you. He's selfish. Move on Mommy. You deserve better.” What happens when your daughter dislikes the man that you admire? It occurred so inconspicuously; I am still baffled as to how we got there!
Initially, neither she nor I thought about establishing boundaries. Why would we? We never needed them before. “No worries,” was her favorite phrase.
It was only by the grace of God that our indifferences never escalated to arguments or rising tempers. I believe my motherly wisdom kept us under control. I have to at least take some of the blame. In all honesty, it was I that invited her into my space. I couldn't be upset with her for my lack of foresight.
Our once-lauded congruency miraculously disappeared; our respective individualities crept in and revealed exactly how dissimilar our views on men really were. The thirty year age difference was showing.
Having been a young bride, I handled relationships like marriage. I believed in committed relationships and going steady, if they still call it that. "Variety is the spice of life; date other guys; you aren't married," was her response.
In hindsight, and to my regret in some instances, she was right with many of her assessments. Youth has limited experience, but its young eyes may be visually sharper than older ones. With age comes wisdom, but also a slower pace. Youth is invigoratingly fast to change; fast to move on. Time is in their favor; so is impatience.
I realized that we mothers can learn from our children even if they sometimes lack diplomacy. Correcting their tone is a better choice than stepping into relationship quicksand.
One day, after a long talk, embracing hugs, and lovable kisses, we reconciled our conflicting views. Control and respect were necessary. Our love and devotion to each other could never be stronger. We both wanted each other to be ridiculously happy. Compromising our love for each other was never an option. Happily, we found balance!
Through the many challenges, this journey has also been an exciting ride and tremendously fun! For example, I couldn't wait to tell my daughter about the guy who asked me in an email, what the word “Ditto” meant. “Mommy, you have got to be kidding! How could he not know the meaning of such a simple term? Why didn't he look it up in the dictionary?” That day, I made an executive decision. It was not wise to continue dialogue with him. One of my relationship necessities was intelligent conversation. Obviously, he couldn’t satisfy this basic criterion. Using the FaceTime app on our IPads, we laughed wildly at his faux pas—like two girlfriends, but not quite. She's still my baby and I'm still her mom. But we've found our groove once again.