Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Change is in the Air

Child One: I don't like it there.

Child Two: Well, I like it better over here.

Mother of child One and Two: Why do we have to move it?

Grandma: Never mind.

The first three walk away and ignore the last.

Conflict. Disagreement. How do you settle anything when no one is ever on the same page?

In this house full of females, we have hormones, moods, age differences and lives reflecting our personalities. Agreement is always fraught with the clinching of the stomach knowing that it will only come after disagreement. So how do I handle it?

My daughter goes off to work or, when home, buries herself in her knitting. The girls do what normal 12 year and 9 year olds do, hanging on Mom's every word. I seem to work my life around the previous three often finding myself the one who just carries the burden instead of facing the conflict. I'm too old and wise to fight. No one else seems to care. And, due to my station of unemployment, I am at a disadvantage wanting take hold on to my portion of this life together. I am not complaining. It is what it is.

"You need to finish your homework," I tell the youngest.

"I will when Mommy gets home," I try, but gave up the battle long ago. This is not my responsibility to do it all on my own. I'm learning to hand off.

A moody preteen gets into the car after school. I have been told not to ask if she has had a good day or if she has homework. She doesn't want to talk about her day. So we drive on without conversation involving questions. I walk a thin line.

I've decided that we need to learn a new way of conversation, a conversation with respect. I have set the pattern I had as a child tweeking it as the years have passed and awareness smacked me between the eyes. I realize now that we need a new tweek. The females in my home are wonderful, but for their sakes and mine, we need to step up our game and learn to communicate.

I don't know if the days of long afternoons of visiting are gone. I'm not sure how to wear the cloak of today. I've begun having coffee with my daughter-in-law every Tuesday. She has a busy schedule so I have an hour before she goes off to work.

"Do you mind if I put on my make up while we talk?" she asked.

I had no problem with it except I didn't know where I was supposed to be. I sat on the sofa.

"Can you hear me?" I asked.

"Yes," she replied from her post at the bathroom mirror.

I found sitting in a room with the dog, Millie, was fine but lacking. So I meandered to the bathroom door. I wasn't sure if it was okay so I asked.

"No problem."

I stood there for awhile then sat down on the toilet lid. She looked over at me.

"Is this okay?"

"Sure."

Was it okay? I'm not sure. My granddaughters and I have our best conversations over bath and sink time. My sisters and I always kept one another company in the bathroom of the farm house when we all came home to visit.

This new 'conversation' awareness is still settling in. I'm missing 'visiting' days. I'm missing that comfort of conversation that has no expectation or time limit. I miss the focus of those conversing showing interest in the words of another. I miss the silly things that surface during such conversations.

Yes, I'm finding new ways to converse. I'm learning not to be apologetic for who I am or what I say. I'm learning to give back to the other females in my family their portion of the conversation without it changing mine.

Never too old to change.

2 comments:

  1. I hesitated to respond to this post because I don't know the background story, but from what I can see it seems there is a bit of rudeness or being taken for granted going on here - possibly a little of both. I don't understand the lack of respect in conversation or why your daughter-in-law wouldn't be more welcoming. (If she were in a rush,she should have suggested a different time for a visit.) Maybe the answer is that it's also never too young to change.

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  2. Granny Nanny,

    My relationship with my daughter and granddaughters at home is a case of being taken for granted. I'm as much at fault as they are on this because of the way I step away from confrontation.I always have even with my children.

    As to my daughter-in-law, I love that we can talk as she gets ready to go to work. We are just learning about one another and working to make a good relationship that reflects family. I don't know that I made that bridge for my ex-son-in-law. We are the only family here for her, and I want it to be laid back and fun. Again, I am learning to change.

    Communication is not just cut and dry. We had none in my growing up. I continue to learn more and more about myself. I love that I can change my ways to communicate to take care of myself and to set a good example for my family by using healthy ways to do things we take for granted.

    Thank you for your comment. You give me a chance to clarify what I was trying to say.

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