Mom’s Boundaries: 10/06/11

What A Walker Gal: We had a great time in NYC. The show was a hit with our daughter. The star Sutton Foster owned the stage, tap dancer par excellence with vocal chords any aspiring diva would envy. We loved it all. We parked the car thirty blocks from the theater, as the day was gorgeous, and the lot cheap, ten bucks for the day. Our daughter loves to walk the city streets but it did get hairy scary when we hit the Times Square area, packed with long thick cords of humanity stuck together on the narrow walkways, passages blocked by construction and box office lines. My sister was panicking, my cell rang as we slid into the lobby of the Stephen Sondheim Theater, our tickets left at the box office, the 2 o’clock curtain upon us.

An Upgrade on Boundaries: Our hour and a half trip back home to Connecticut was an emotional rodeo ride. From fun sharing of the performances, including Joel Grey’s understudy who provided great punch and humor to the role of the stowaway gangster, to worry about seeing the lady who “snapped at me” at the next Sphere meeting, on to the hilarious cell phone conversation with a male friend who couldn’t answer the question, “Where do you work?” Ups and downs, that’s what moms are for, to share the ride. But this mom is struggling with her boundaries. How much tinkering with our daughter’s life should I still engage in? Trying to ease her process of dealing with the hurtful party from Sunday’s SPHERE choral performance, I contacted both her ABD staff and SPHERE directors to suggest helping the girls with the making up or moving forward process. But I did this without first consulting my daughter as to her wishes. I realized, when I told her that one of the ladies was going to help facilitate a conversation, that I had made a mistake. “I’m not ready to forgive.” Nor was she ready to converse with her. Further chats with her residential staff and roommate clarified what I had presumptuously left out: She is just not ready. So I had to undo what I had done, emails and such sent around, awkwardly stating, “Mother did not know best. Not this time.”

New Rules: As Bill Maher says at the end of his HBO talk show, Real Time, “New Rule: Mother must first ask daughter if she, daughter, would like mother to play a role in personal situations that arise in daughter’s life.” More rules to follow. Still learning how to be the mother of an adult special needs daughter. This actually is not easy at all.

©Jill Edelman, M.S.W., L.C.S.W. 2011

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