This Mysterious Mothering of Adults

“Mom, check this out.” My daughter placed an official-looking binder in my lap, and at my questioning expression, she rushed on. “It’s an orientation binder. Joe got the job!”

I sprang up from the couch and embraced my son-in-love, who was beaming ear to ear. I told him how proud I was, and how I knew his perseverance would be rewarded. We chatted for a bit about how much of a blessing this new job would be, and how grateful we all were for the answered prayer.

“The thing is,” she continued, “he will be working from home till the end of the year, but we will have to relocate.”

All the air got sucked out of the room and I think my face probably froze along with the rest of me as my mind went into the blank mode typical of a shock response. I don’t remember much of what was said in the few minutes immediately following that initial revelation, but once my mind started comprehending again—and then reeling—I began the challenge of fighting the tears that had sprung up and were threatening to spill over.

A million thoughts raced through my head, none of which I could put into a coherent sentence. It’s not about me. It’s about her and him and their life being led the way God is leading it. I have to let it be all about them and trust God to fill in the empty spaces.

But also…this hurts so much. Dear God, please help me not to fall apart. They are deliriously happy, and I can’t rain on this—don’t want to diminish any of the blessing you are pouring over my beautiful girl and the love of her life. Please just help me hold it together.

Over the next several minutes, I listened to the conversation in the room while fighting an internal battle that would eventually calm as God’s peace washed over me and provided the only comfort my heart, in those moments, was fully prepared to accept.

I swallowed hard and breathed deeply and excavated a smile for my sweet girl. She came over and sat down next to me, wrapped her arms around me, and tears came for us both. We sat there like that for a few minutes while her whole childhood played back through my mind, reminding me that my role in her life is quite different now, but equally important.

Now, I am here to comfort and support her. I am to be strong but in a different way.

In these moments of mothering adults, it isn’t the outside world I’m regulating to make sure she is safe and happy. It’s my own tumultuous mama-heart I’m vigilantly trying to moderate.

This is a role I was fully unprepared to play. But I’m relentlessly rehearsing my lines and praying I’ll get it right.

Because she is worth it.