I have a long history of talking. My grade school teachers put ‘not working up to her potential’ as a report card comment, because I was busy talking to my neighbor, passing triangle folded notes to kids across from me, and looking out the window at life beyond my classroom.
In high school, my senior class gave me ‘the easiest to talk to’ award, because I chatted it up with any breathing person around me. Talking is the best, and I used it as a tool for distraction from doing or feeling unpleasant things, like facing life’s consequences.
In a past blog, I mentioned trying to be kind. That’s my big challenge these days, to not be too blunt or abrupt when I deal with others. One definitely knows where I’m coming from, though, nothing vague about me. I have been trying to listen. This is critical, because it changes how I interact, especially with my son.
My youngest son is a young man with plenty of brains, and plenty of stubbornness, which may or may not serve him in his life. The brains part is great, because he’s the smartest person in our family. He’s quick witted, and some of his jokes are ass-kickingly funny. Some not, as we all miss the mark on humor.
I realized that my son was avoiding me these days, because he didn’t want to deal with my abrupt ways, and my judgments of his life choices. He is struggling to find his way. My insistence that ‘he know how I feel’ doesn’t change his behavior one bit. It doesn’t help me, either. We had a dramatic interchange the other night, and after he got plenty loud about my comments, he revealed that he’s losing a friend. His friend is dying at the age of 23. My son planned to go over to his friend’s house, possibly to say goodbye, and he was upset, more than even he understood.
I heard him, and instantly felt compassion and mercy. I feel inconsolable sorrow for his friend and his friend’s family who are suffering so deeply.
It was easy for me to ‘lighten up’ and reconsider that what really matters between people is love. Why set up huge expectations about what others should do, and when they should do it? My boy is dealing with impending death. There is no greater teacher about what truly matters. I am grateful I have the type of son who wants to go to his friend at the end, and to be there for him. I can offer my adult child a different intimacy at this phase of his life.
I don’t want to be arrogant anymore. I want to ‘get out of the way.’ Even though he doesn’t do things my way, I can offer respect and make an effort to understand.