I find that I’m zipping my lip lately, most often when I’m around our grown children. Since both sons live far away, we don’t have the luxury of casual get-togethers in which mundane conversations evolve giving a mother a clue as to what is going on in her kid's lives. Although minimal communication is fine when dealing with acquaintances and friends, it doesn’t cut it where my adult children are concerned.
Sometimes I question my expectations and feel as though I am being unreasonable. But then I recall the words of Jungian therapist Florida Scott Maxwell who said, “No matter how old a mother is, she watches her middle-aged children for signs of improvement, never outgrowing the burden of love and the weight of hope for those she bore.”
Tidbits they post on Facebook aren’t giving me enough back story. —Joan Anderson
Recently my ears perked up when I caught a holiday interview with Meryl Streep in which she was asked what she wanted for Christmas. She wrinkled her nose as she pondered the question. “Hmmm,” she said, “I would like to spend one day with each of my children anytime this coming year.” I could have jumped through the television screen to give her a high five for the affirmation, concluding that my caring for connection is basically a benign obsession, if not totally normal.
Perhaps my incessant curiosity hearkens back to long dinner table conversations at my grandmother’s house where no subject was off limits...or maybe it was the regular Sunday night phone calls from my parents which kept us current even though each long distance minute amounted to a hefty charge. So fascinated I was with family tales and heavy discussions that I became a journalist if for no other reason than to have the license to probe into the lives of others and ask questions. So what’s stopping me from opening up with my kids? I suppose its fear that they will feel threatened somehow or see my questions as judgment.
Someone said that the truth is rarely spoken because the time is never right. Time’s a wasting and never needs to become now. Tidbits they post on Facebook aren’t giving me enough back story. With an epoch birthday at hand, I am going to steal Streep’s wish and ask for nothing more than time—lunch, dinner, anything that allows for the reciprocity I crave. I have no desire to crawl into the casket without knowing who my kids have become.
© Joan Anderson. Used with permission.