[Note: Expect the Monday/Friday posts to be up no later than noon, going forward. So there’s probably no need to check much earlier in the day than that.]
Other than the four years I was away at college, I’ve lived in the same town as my folks all my life. I’ve been out of their house for over 10 years, but we’re still a very close-knit bunch. Frequent (weekly) weekend meals shared, checking in by phone or in person during the week, sitting in adjacent rows at church every Sunday.
But I’m in my thirties, and planning to go to seminary and probably move away from my hometown permanently. This will be a difficult transition for my family, so I’ve tried, in fits and starts over the last few years, to begin that separation process. I have to admit–I haven’t always handled it well. I’m still learning how to be an adult son of parents who still have a teenager in the house. Sometimes, I find myself acting like a teenager as well, pulling back from the closeness of the family that raised me with pointless little acts of defiant independence. I have, on more than one occasion, caused hurt feelings and even maternal tears. That’s never my goal, really, but it happens, and I feel awful about it.
Of course, they have hurt my feelings, too. My parents, God bless ’em, are sinners, and they have sinned against me a time or two as well. There’s room for blame on both sides of these arguments, but blame accomplishes nothing, resolves nothing. The way forward, the way of peace, always starts with humility. Confession. Repentance.
This past week, I learned that I had been thoughtless and insensitive toward my parents. The exact circumstances are not that important, except to say that I didn’t give them enough credit to be as supportive as they later proved themselves to be. So last night, I sat down with my folks, and I apologized for giving them the stiff-arm and not letting them take more of a role in what’s going on in this season of my life. Then I stayed for dinner and the “big game.”
We’re still figuring out this new phase of the relationship. There will surely be more instances where I’ll need to pull away and redraw some boundaries, but I’m learning that my folks are willing to work through this transition with me. I’m very thankful for that.
Question: How do you relate to your parents, as an adult? Have you been able to balance maintaining boundaries with preserving a good relationship?