SIMPLY BEING

Tag: relationships (page 1 of 1)

Girls Departing

Girls departing
in silver-grey Merc-Benz cars, sometimes chubby Ambassadors, white and solid.
A rented vehicle maybe, a scarlet red Hyundai, sometimes.
Or a flashy Porsche, bedecked in flowers and streamers,
A shiny convertible?

(No, it’s never that kind of fun for us.)

We leave behind our mothers and dads and younger siblings
As they step into other vehicles.
I sit in mine, surrounded by strangers, one of them more familiar than the others.

I look back, the cars have left already.

I am on my own
In a car that’s all new, with a family that’s all new.

Girls depart to new homes, bearing new names and identities,
New clothes, old jewelry, new ideas, old theories.

Equal and Separate

One of my nieces is a high-school teacher. She was asked by a student, “Do you have a favorite student?” She responded, “Do you have a favorite teacher?” Her point was, yes, of course. She had some students who were absolute darlings, and then there were others that she wished would stay home more often. But as a teacher, she was clear that her personal feelings about the students were separate from how she treated and evaluated them.

Perhaps it is the same for a parent?

As an adult, I often reflect on my own childhood. It was perfect. Or was it? Well, what is perfect? Perfect does not exist. We are groomed to put a positive spin on every experience. Perhaps it is a technique to stave off pain, to prevent an emotional setback. So we layer the prettiest colors over all our experiences, refusing to see the blacks and dark greys underneath.

Who’d relish knowing that perhaps, they were the less favorite (or less favored) child?

I think each parent relates to each of their offspring in a different way. Maybe you share a passion with one of your children. Or maybe both of you have similar aspirations. And then it could be that you share nothing in common with the other child. Or maybe s/he is so similar to you that it becomes a bit of an irritant, a sad reminder of some sort. Perhaps you have a dream that one of them looks poised to fulfill. Perhaps there is a natural reserve in one of the relationships that simply cannot be overcome, despite your best intentions. Maybe one of the children is a natural attention magnet, and all of it flows in their direction.

After all, parents are human too.

I know it is common to evoke compassion at this point. To encourage adult children to forgive and forget, to focus on the present, to let go.

Perhaps these actions, if undertaken in a spirit of sincerity and empathy, serve their purpose. Perhaps they bring closure and peace. Or maybe they take a lot of effort and energy, and you end up empty-handed, right where you started.

I think truthfulness can help. By not pretending, not hiding ugly emotions behind positive affirmations, by not prettifying unpleasantness… we may hope to gain closure. It sometimes feels long and arduous, but it will ultimately heal hearts and minds, I think.

Attention

I have recently got acquainted with a person, let’s call them M.

M is a dynamic individual, bursting with ideas and optimism. M could be termed an evangelist of sorts, because they want to infect others with their ideas. They genuinely believe in the beauty and efficacy of their plans, how it all makes perfect sense… and that all I need to do is say Yes.

(Do you know this person too?)

You cannot but be charmed by this individual. And that includes me as well.

I thought it was the sheer energy, their boundless enthusiasm and good cheer. Then a less flattering (and more truthful, perhaps?) idea dawned.

Maybe I was gravitating to this person simply because they were paying me attention. And lots of it, undivided and dedicated.

Maybe I craved attention secretly, and then pretended that I couldn’t stand it? Was I a total hypocrite?

Maybe not. These traits play out below the surface, and some kind of training (awareness, introspection) is required before you can even detect their presence. All I can do is pay attention myself to these hidden dynamics, be gentle on myself, breathe out and let go.