Funny that it was not until recently that I started thinking about and examining how relationships are built. I find it hard to have strong lasting relationships. My personality has sharp edges. Sooner rather than later I am probably going to just piss you off. I don't intend to be edgy and difficult. I just am. Post-menopause certainly doesn't help my lack of a warm and fuzzy disposition. One thing I have come to understand is that in order to have good relationships with others, I have to work at it since it doesn't come naturally for me.
One of my sons just returned home from New Zealand after serving as an expatriate for three years. Our family chatter is currently revolving around his relationships. It is this talk about his relationships that has prodded me to take a stark look at my own relationships and especially with my children. Since my three sons were born in 1979 and 1980, I have made it my quest to try and have good relationships with them. I was great when they were little. I sucked when they were teenagers and I am trying hard with them as adults. I like them and I enjoy spending time around them. I want them to feel welcome and want to come home now and then. It is important to me that they know they have a mom who loves and accepts them as they are at this moment in time.They are all great story tellers since they have been out to see the world and have lived to come back and tell about it. They have good souls and are kind and generous. All three have their trials and tribulations and struggle with life in different ways. They are good men and I am proud to be their mother.
We kid a lot about them taking care of me when I get old and unable to care for myself. I make them promise to give me ice cream. I've thought about this since I was little. My mother was cruel, unkind and unfeeling toward me. I remember as a small child telling her that she would regret being so mean spirited when she grew old. We were not on speaking terms when she died. She had burned her mother card many years before she grew feeble. I didn't have much training on how to be a good mother so I've had to improvise along the way with my own children. I've stumbled many times and I've had to apologize and ask for forgiveness along the way. I wish I could have guided them better. I wish I had more words of wisdom to offer them. I've found that I am not all that wise. I don't have any money to offer to make their lives easier and more comfortable. I am not rich. I often have to stand by and watch as they suffer in life with little help to offer except I am there if they need me. I hope it is enough.I have found that with each conversation we have, our understanding of one another is a little richer for having taken the time to talk and to listen. I've noticed that when I offer my hand to help them in whatever way that I can, the trust between us is a little stronger. When I respect them as human beings and accept them as they are that they seem to reflect back that respect to me. I am a true believer that respect is not given but earned and it takes a whole heck of a lot of work to earn it. Respect is when you have a deep admiration for someone. How can a child have a deep admiration for a parent if that parent is always unkind to them, if that parent takes every opportunity to tear them down or is always wanting the child to be something different? If the parent doesn't respect and admire the child, how can the child respect and admire the parent? It is a path that has to go both ways.
They are in their 30's and I'm in my 50's. I still look at them and wonder how they will be as they grow older and if all will be OK. I trust it will.