Amy Rees Anderson

Those Words A Parent Never Expected to Hear

As those of you who follow my blog know, my son Dalton recently got engaged to his sweetheart and we are now in full blown wedding preparation mode. Because they want a short engagement it is like wedding planning central at our house with invitation selections, picking colors for the reception, figuring out venues, booking photographers, and all the other madness that goes with planning a wedding. My son was a little surprised to find out that weddings aren’t as easy as asking a girl to marry you and then…poof…having the wedding ready to happen. He had no idea of the chaos he was going to be stepping into these next few months during preparations for the wedding, registering for gifts, the reception, the open house, the honeymoon, the search for married college housing, and everything else that needs to get done in short order…no doubt his head is spinning!

Since returning from his LDS mission over a year ago he has been adamant about wanting to be a totally independent adult. He has been going through that phase of life where he wants to figure it all out for himself and he doesn’t really love getting parental advice unless he specifically asks us for it, and frankly he prefers not to have to ask for it at all. All part of his quest to becoming an independent adult.  Now don’t get me wrong, I think it is awesome for children to become independent when they reach adulthood, but it’s also painful to have so much advice you could give and to have to hold your tongue about it because they have made it clear they will be frustrated with you if you try to share it.  And the times you accidentally slip and share it without being asked, you can bet you’ll get your head bit off. As a parent with a child at this stage of life it often feels like a no-win situation.  And so I have been trying to learn how to be there to support him without stepping on his toes or his independence. Truth be told I have had a lot to learn on trying to get it right. I suppose it’s probably normal for a parent to struggle to learn to do this when its their firstborn child – heck I’ve never raised an adult before! Trust me when i say the struggle is definitely real!!

But since getting engaged there has been a total change in my son. Not only has he asked me for advice, but he suddenly seems grateful and appreciative to get it. Not only that, he’s actually taking my advice! It’s like a Christmas miracle! Last night he came to my room to talk to me and asked my advice on something. I gave it and then he thanked me sincerely and gave me a HUGE hug. I seriously almost started to cry! I couldn’t hold it in any more – I looked at him and asked “What is happening here? You genuinely seem happy for my advice lately! And you even admit it is good advice?!  What’s changed???”

My son then answered with words a parent never expected to hear from their child.  He said, “We have finally entered territory I know absolutely nothing about.” He then smiled and walked out of the room.

All I could do is sit and laugh out loud. I wanted to jump up and yell “Hallelujah and Sing Praises! My baby acknowledges that he both WANTS and NEEDS my advice!!”  Look I’m not going to lie – it was like the GREATEST feeling ever! But instead I yelled out to him “I am totally putting that comment you just made in tomorrow night’s blog!”  I heard him laugh out loud as he was walking away.

It’s nice to be needed as a parent, but it’s even nicer to be appreciated by your kids, and it’s like heaven on earth to have them express that appreciation to you themselves!  HAPPY HAPPY JOY JOY!!!

Thanks Dalton for telling me you need me and that you appreciate me. That made my month!

~Amy (aka Dalton’s Mom)

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