I made a lot of vows when I was an adult child dealing with my aging mother. “When my kids are grown, I’ll never…” It’s interesting how things change and how things remain the same.
When my mother was about my age she was living upstate near my sisters. I flew to see her fairly often and when she was in rehab after a broken hip, I went to spend some time with her. By visiting I hoped not only to cheer her up, but take pressure off of my sister who needed some time with her husband and children.
It didn’t work out perfectly. Mom was hurt and insulted that I would leave her bedside at times to visit with the rest of the family. But let’s fast forward.
Our son who lives in Colorado recently had a work assignment near us and tacked on a visit here. When he comes to Oregon all of the other siblings gather, so we had the rare privilege of seeing each of our (all vaccinated) children within a few days. Not everyone came at once but they did their best to make the best connections. It’s not often that they see each other – in the days of COVID-19 it feels miraculous.
In memory of my youthful vow I sent the following text message to my children:
Ahh, the tension increases as the days approach. You want and need to visit your parents but all of your siblings will – at one time or another – be available. What to do? How to spend your precious time? Having been an adult child of aging parents, I recognize the issue.
Just remember that we love you and love to spend time with you, but we know that you will have other plans, too. Your sister and her husband have room for you to sleep there. That will give you time to visit with each other. And I want you to have time with each other.
Even though I hate to be left out, 🥴 I know that I am not capable or even interested in doing everything that you do. Your Dad and I love you to the moon and assume that you love us. So go about your business and we’ll squeal if we need attention and are not getting enough of it. (Your dad has approved this message.)🥰🥰
I get a certain pleasure in knowing that my children are somewhere enjoying themselves together. When they are with us, I have great pleasure in seeing them laugh and talk together. Their loving banter and their memories fill me with joy.
Life changes and goes on. I am happy to be on the ride.
P.S I’ll never know whether my mother’s complaints we’re due to my lack of thoughtfulness. She had her issues as I have mine. It doesn’t matter anymore because I understand her and have compassion that I did not have at the time.