I was watching Parenthood recently and a truth struck me hard in the chest. I love how this program shows family in all it’s messy conflict but at the same time, it portrays a family built on love. Love is the glue that holds this wildly disparate and dysfunctional family together.
Towards the very end of the show show, 19 year old Amber, who has been living independently for awhile, trying to navigate life and failing miserably, comes over to see her mom early in the morning. Mom is still in bed but awake and it’s clear that Amber is needing something but can’t or won’t articulate it.
Mom, in her wisdom, simply pulls down the covers, pats the bed and motions to Amber to jump in where it’s safe and warm. Like a little girl, she climbs in, pulls up the covers and draws close to her mom, tears falling. She doesn’t want to talk about it but says something like, “I just need to be with my mom” as she lays her head on her shoulder. Mom looks at her with all the love and tenderness in the world and as a wise mom does, just lets her cry.
I cried watching that scene and here’s why: it’s a perfect picture of what mothering (especially daughters) is all about. No matter how old they are, how far they’ve strayed, how much they mess up, mom is always that safe place, warm and protecting, like those bedcovers. They are never too old to climb under those covers and just…..be.
To know, no matter what, there is one place in the world where they are loved for who they are without judgement and without reservation. Kids do mess up and they will mess up. That’s why I always say parenting is not a spectator sport. It will tax you to the moon and back, drain you and fill you up all in the same day, sometimes in the same moment.
When our kids are little they delight to snuggle with us. In fact, most mornings we’ll wake up with one or more of them in our beds. But then they grow up, desperate to be separate, independent, adult.
Until the crisis hits.
The huge blunder is made, the betrayal happens, the loss takes their breath away and then, well, it all comes back to mom. Why? Because mom loves them anyway. The older they get, those mom times get fewer and farther between.
Treasure those raw and real moments Mama. Always be that safe place where tears can fall because, as certain as sun follows the rain, words will follow and your love will heal.