A girl never outgrows the need for her mother. That fact came home to me two months into my marriage. My husband was lying on a hospital bed in front of me, broken, burnt, and bruised after a welding explosion which could have so easily claimed his life. In his over-medicated state, he kept forgetting to breathe.
“Can you come now?” My voice broke as I called my mom on my cell phone.
I’d been strong on the drive to the hospital. I’d made it through his first surgery. But I suddenly felt very helpless and alone (the rest of my new family was back at the farm, trying to keep things going without the right hand farmer, my husband!).
My mom had been ready to come the second I’d called her about the accident more than 24 hours earlier. But I’d been okay then. Now the adrenaline had worn off, and I needed my mom. I knew I couldn’t make it waiting through another surgery alone.
My mom only stayed a few short days. She flew back home the same day that I got to take my husband home from the hospital. But those 48 hours stand out in my mind as when our relationship changed.
Gone in an instant were the stresses of planning the wedding together. Of no more account was the way we’d seen things differently during my courtship. Forgotten were the countless emotionally-charged discussions we’d had through my teen years.
Suddenly I felt that now, in my mother’s eyes, I was not only an adult, but a wife. We were relating on a new level. And it was a good thing.
My mom was there for me: making phone calls or bringing me food when I didn’t want to leave my husband’s side. But she respected our privacy and really just hung out in the waiting room most of the time. She was there for me when I wanted her but didn’t try to push her presence on us. Just knowing that she was there was enough.
That is precisely the theme of Mother-Daughter Duet: Getting to the Relationship You Want with Your Adult Daughter: learning the intricate balance of being a mom without mothering too much, letting her know you are there for her without threatening her independence, connecting in friendship on your common ground instead of focusing on the generational differences. (Read on to find out how to win a copy for yourself or for your mom!)
When I agreed to review the book written by Cheri Fuller along with her daughter Ali Plum, I didn’t realize it was directed to moms. I have two daughters—but at ages 6 months and 2 years, respectively, they aren’t exactly adult daughters. So for me, reading Mother-Daughter Duet was more of a chance for reflection on my own relationship with my own mother. And a time of considering the habits and traditions I want to establish with my little girls, who will be 21 before I know it.
The relationship of the mother-daughter authors looked much different from my relationship with my mom. Ali and her dad both struggled with alcoholism and depression, Cheri with trying to fix everything and being co-dependent. But what Mother-Daughter Duet so beautifully illustrates is that while every mother-daughter relationship will be different, each has the same themes: generational differences, the transition from childhood to adulthood, the “faith of our mothers” becoming a personal belief, the craving of respect (for everything from hairstyles to lifestyle choices), the need for letting go, the delight of mother-daughter friendship.
Ali summed it all up when she said to moms:
We need to trust that if you profess to be a believer, you will be a believer and not a worrier. We want you to know that when you try to control what we believe, it pushes us away and your faith looks weak, even if we know God is strong. (Mother-Daughter Duet, pg. 123)
That applies to more people than just moms. And there’s plenty a daughter can learn from the book, as well. Because even though Mom may have more maturity to set the tune, it takes two to sing a duet.