So tonight the kids came for dinner. We don’t live together anymore so the dinners are a way of maintaining contact, and for me who lives alone, a method of remaining in my children’s (young adults) lives. It is important for me. I want to be a part of their lives and I want them to be a part of mine. Sharing dinner at my house and not a restaurant or their house is a part of that ritual.
Tonight was hard. They were morose. One word answers to anything I asked and no corresponding conversation. I remember times when I would have lost my temper and told them off. I didn’t see them, I deserved better treatment. I am their mother! How dare they treat me so badly!
Yet, I remember yesterday when I had my bleh day. When I couldn’t for the life of me at one stage of the day deliver more than one word answers to my partner. He tried and I just retreated further into my shell. He didn’t shout, or scream or tell me that if I loved him I would treat him better. I also remembered all the times when my partner or friends who have bad days do similar things and I just offer a shoulder or simply say “when you are ready I am here”.
Seldom do I do that for my children. Seldom do I just offer them the space to be morose and difficult, even when I know it’s not quite what it seems.
Tonight I offered them the space. After less than 50 minutes with me, I sent them back home. Each to do whatever it was that they needed to do. The invitation stands for them to come and visit as they need this week around my schedule, because I too have a schedule. I’ll never turn them away. There was no shouting, no guilt trip and no recrimination. Just a gentle nudge for them to go and do what they needed to do. I would be here when the dust settled.
I am well aware that my youngest is upset. At some point she will apologise and reach out. My eldest not so much, but he will be first to visit I think. I am proud of the fact that I did not shout and scream as I ordinarily would have. I have finally learned my lesson. It is okay to not have some family things go as planned. There may not always be another time but I got some time and some time is better than no time.
I got genuine hugs from each as they left. Normally I have to ask, tonight I didn’t have to ask. Small steps to better goals. I am honest when I say it still hurts, I am but human and I love my kids. But I am further forward than I have been in a long time.