"So what's new on the dating scene?" she asked me.
Now, I hesitated before I responded. Do I really want to tell my mother that I'm dating someone new? Ever since I moved out of the house, over ten years ago, she has had a strong desire to know everything that is going on in my life, and I mean EVERYTHING! I guess it's her way of staying connected and keeping her role as a mother up to date, but it drives me crazy!
I look at my other friend's relationships to their mothers and the closeness they share. I desire to be able to share intimate details of my life with my mother; particularly who I am dating, but the truth is, my mother and I have not always had that close knit relationship. I found myself sharing more things with my dad then I did with my mother. Maybe it's because she was a military mom and I saw her more as a disciplinarian than a confidant. She was a provider, but not necessarily the intimate "girl talk" type of mother. And to be very honest, my mother is a gossip! She means no harm, but she couldn't hold water to save her life! But as I've gotten older, I've made a decision to truly work on my relationship with my mother and let her in on aspects of my life.
But also, as I've gotten older, having three failed relationships under my belt, I've learned that talking about my relationships early on leads to too many opinions, questions, and expectations on a relationship that has yet to fully be developed. People want to know more than you are willing to give. The pressure to live up to the expectations can be damaging in the long run. So I am learning to just be quiet. But it's a struggle, especially when you are happy and enjoy the person you are with. You want to tell the world!
So reluctantly I shared with my mother that I was dating someone new. And the flood gates were open! She wanted to know his job history, spiritual back ground, family history, specific physical features and to top it off, she asked for a picture! It was only matter of time before the social security number question would come up! What did I get myself into!?
My mother shared with me that she has been praying that I would find the right man, my husband. She witnessed my previous breakups and genuinely just wants me to be happy. She is also genuinely ready to plan and experience the wedding of her only daughter, and desires grand children to spoil. No pressure though, right?
Well, pressure it is! One night while I was hanging out with "the new guy", I get a call from my mother. I answer because I hadn't talked to her all day, and I was low-key avoiding her calls. She proceeds to probe me about my location and current activities. I reluctantly share that I was at his house just hanging out. I shared with my mother that we had went out earlier that day, had dinner, and were now just relaxing. Her question to me," Do you tell him thank you? I looked at the phone. She raised me right. If anyone does anything for me I always say thank you, numerous times if led to. She then proceeds to tell me that I must tell him thank you because he does not have to be nice to me. Pause. Was he doing me a favor? Was I a charity case? We were dating. He wasn't doing anything that he didn't want to do, and I always showed my appreciation to him. She then proceeds to tell me that I must tell him thank you right then and there while she was still on the phone. She couldn't be serious! Oh, but she was! Relentless is not the word for it! After I said no numerous times and threatened to hang up on her, she began to yell out his name hoping that he would hear her!!! She was so serious! I wish I was making this up, but I'm not! After a few more attempts, she finally got the hint and I hung up.
What just happened? My mother has finally gone off the deep end! Where do we go from here? I had to take it to a higher power. I called my father! I explained the crazy antics of his wife, and all he could do was laugh!
"Baby, you know how your mother is, but she really just wants you to be happy," he said.
And the crazy part is, I knew that too. She is my mother, and for the 30 years that I have known her, the crazy hasn't changed. But in my attempt to finally take a relationship slow and develop a friendship, her excitement/love was killing an experience that could ultimately be a life changing one for the both of us!
The line of respect once you cross the threshold into adulthood can be a tricky road to cross with your parents. I wholeheartedly believe in Exodus 20:12, "Honor your father and mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you." But I also believe Ephesians 6:4, "Fathers [mothers] don't make your children bitter about life..." I love and respect my mother, but at this point in my life, I desire just a mustard seed of respect as an adult. She raised me to be strong, independent, and intelligent in all my decision makings. But I also realize that she is not changing. So I expect her antics, let her have her moment, knowing the true motive behind it is love.
Mothers, can't live with them after 18, but Lord knows I wouldn't be the woman I am today, and I absolutely couldn't live without her!
Exodus 20:12 [NIV]
Ephesians 6:4 [God's Word Translation]