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ASK MERRILY/Monumental Changes Disappoint Mom

Merrily Preston
By Merrily Preston
Posted on Oct 15,2009
Filed Under Personal Development , Opinions,

photo by John Arundel/Local Kicks <br />Doesn’t she want to know who I am?<br />
photo by John Arundel/Local Kicks
Doesn’t she want to know who I am?

Alexandria, Virginia

I have planned a solo, camping trip across the country to explore and possibly find work and a new home.  I had a farewell supper with my mother last night, and as usual, she cast cold disapproval at me when I handed her my printed itinerary.   She wonders what I am "out to prove." She thinks I take chances.

Not one word of encouragement. I didn't even get, "Have a good time." Nothing.  It was all about her. She is worried: I am in danger, foolish, foolhardy.  It’s always about her.  I pondered this as I drove home - how sad.

I learned to support others from non-immediate family members. My eyes were not opened to that concept until I went to college. I have had three monumental changes in my life in the past month - leaving my job, becoming a Catholic, and now setting out on this adventure. Not once has she inquired about why I have made these choices.

Doesn’t she want to know who I am?

Dear Who I Am,

How sad that your mother was not able to be there for you and ask why you have made these choices.  Your answers would have given her a clear, through-the-looking-glass view of who you are.  How complete you would have felt as she listened.  

It’s a profound loss for both of you.  

Sometimes a person we love cannot show interest in our lives by asking the obvious questions.  As your own needs were not met in this encounter, it’s difficult to see that your mother needed to control rather than encourage.  Her belittling words – in danger, foolish, out to prove – were feeble attempts to manipulate.  The finality of your itinerary most likely overwhelmed her, taking away her power.

Allow your own listening skills to be sharpened by this experience.

Your changes all take you into the unknown, where most, including your own mother, do not go willingly.  Saying ‘yes’ to life is ‘taking chances’.

Is there another change?  Independence in making decisions from the heart rather than on opinions or approval of others?    

Please write back about your adventure and be sure to include why you made these monumental choices.
Merrily Preston is an Intentional Life Facilitator, who lives in Woodbridge. Her column is exclusive to Local Kicks. Email questions to, or use online form at

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