Gratitude * Sunday
Sunday’s heartfelt tradition.
A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful.
A list of gratitudes, our gratefulness feeds one another.
Quoted from Taryn Wilson
Joining the Gratitude Sunday Tradition at Wooly Moss Roots.
Drip, drizzle, rain, gray
misty water kisses tease
my dry thirsty skin.
The son is back home. He had a lark for several months couch crashing with friends in the next burg, dropping by here two or three times a week for a shower, or a meal, or laundry, knowing I’d always slip him some cash or a pre-paid phone card, or send him back out with food. His adventure started the same week my mother died last June making for a hard week and month and the following months as well, as I was grieving for Mom. The hardest part was he never really said what he was doing; it was a guessing game for months. When I insisted he go to Mom’s memorial I had a chance to talk to him about learning to communicate as adults. He’s gotten better. I’m glad to have him back.
I’d gotten sort of used to him being mostly gone. I didn’t always close the bathroom door or make sure I was covered for the sake of modesty. I fretted a tad less about him being out at night. I added his little list of chores back into my daily routine and got used to having a cleaner house because they were done. I washed fewer towels; bought less gas, less TP, less food; my electricity and water bill went down. I missed him like mad.
The son is an adult. At 21 he must have new experiences, earn his own money so he can pay his own way in life, learn to share his time with friends and know which friends are okay to bring home, and depend on himself more. Many young people use college as a stepping stone for this time in their lives and measure their success with grades and degrees. The son is on the road not taken and he is having an interesting life, as well he should if he is going to choose that path. He comes by the trait genetically, I’m afraid, and while the hubster and I have created no wealth of cash we have created a wealth of curiosity and resources. Life is not necessarily about having the most or the biggest or the best; it is about learning while on an interesting pathway (or two, or more) and having a delightful journey, perhaps even leaving this world a little better than when we arrived.
I believe in multi-generational households. I view it like this: youth has the brawn and the curiosity and elders have the wit and experience. As long as you all like each other it can work if each person does his job. It’s like any other situation of adults working together, and if your family is even semi-functional, with any luck communication is better at home than at any other place of employment.
I often feel as parents and human beings the hubster and I are at our worst when we are with the son. The hubster views the son as competition for my attention instead of an extension of shared love. I am protective (not overly, surely) because the son is an only child and has to have at least one unconditional advocate in his life.
What I ask is the son to step up, exhibit some adult behavior, and do the few chores on his list every day without being asked like a child. The test is to do it before I come home from work at night. If he has worked the same hours as me that day, I want the tasks to be done before bed. The few tasks on his list are not a lot to ask – 15 minutes or less of work – and he could step up and do more as the hubster and I get older since the son may have to inherit this house.
Both of them react if I cannot keep my peace and mention the tasks have not been done; the son because I mention before he’s done it on his own time (read: not mine) and the hubster because by saying I’m “mommying”, which suddenly is not allowed. I don’t care how old you are, if the chores assigned to you aren’t done and the house looks like a bomb went off eventually I’m going to say something. Maybe I’d have a different mind-set if I didn’t have to work full-time outside my home all my adult life. I’m fond of the phrase “ain’t nobody happy if mama ain’t happy”.
When the son disappeared (didn’t come home at night, didn’t call, didn’t answer his phone) the week Mom died I had a general idea of where he was and who he was with. I thought he was coping with his grandmother’s death by immersion in another space and distancing himself from my grief. As his mother, even though I was grieving the death of my mother and separation from my son at the same time, I left him alone, dignifying his separation from me.
I am and forever will be “the mommy”. I am the son’s friend second and his mother first. I will never be just a roommate and that’s how the hubster thinks I should behave. Pay me rent, electricity, water, and your own food, and we might talk roommateishness, but I’m still the mom. Let’s disregard the daddying the hubster does. I’m sure it’s apples and oranges (not). So the hubster often sounds judgmental and I usually sound cranky.
Bless the son’s heart he’s getting used to us again. The fine thing is the son is a good person. He’s caring, empathetic, and honest. When the son was in 10th grade a classmate’s mom was a science teacher at his high school and we chatted occasionally about how our boys were struggling in school. She sensibly assured me they would turn out fine because our family values were much more important than school education. Most parents are pretty hard on themselves and think they are not doing a good job of parenting, but the science teacher mom was right. Both our boys grew up to be good men. They’ll figure out the education part when they are ready. The son has already learned our family communications work best to have conversations with mom and dad separately, not both of us at the same time. It’s just a quirk of how our little family works with the least amount of resistance all the way around.
And bless my heart, I’m getting used to having him back. I bite my tongue and don’t ask, but I won’t do the tasks for him and will resist living with the freshly bombed home. It’s just stuff, right? Parenting adult children is very different. One is still the parent, not a friend or a roommate. It’s your house and you have a say, and you expect adult behavior from the adult child, but like I used to tell his teachers, how do you make another person do something? I won’t reveal all my tricks but they include the “too bad you didn’t do that task, because now I can’t do” the whatever it is he is asking technique. Suddenly the task seems to get done.
Then, I remember being 21. I HATED doing housework at my mom’s when I had to live there; I wanted so badly to be independent, on my own, anywhere away from her, though I loved her dearly and knew she loved me. Only after I’d been on my own a while, paying all my own bills, taking care of my own stuff and making my own way, did I realized what impact each person has on a household. When I finally did, my mom would sometimes tell me to sit down and just visit, instead of doing her housework. I think it all works out in the end, as people grow and learn.
Either way we will grow and learn together; I will learn more patience, the son will learn to do the tasks in my timely manner, and who knows what the hubster will learn but he’s along for the ride anyway. I’m glad to have them with me. And when you are the mom? Every day is mother’s day.
Color Watch – blooming attractions in my neighborhoods this week – sweet Oregon rain did not let me capture any pictures this week but up the street an antique property has a yard full of snowdrops and crocuses; the first bright yellow faces of daffodils showed; neighbors freshly planted yellow, pink, and purple primroses; bronzed leathery leaves still clinging to a few trees; the burgundy/maroon pinked tips of plum buds just barely putting up their little heads from bare branches.
Currently Reading – Wave (2013, memoir, natural disasters) by Sonali Deraniyagala; Takedown Twenty (2013, fiction) by Janet Evanovich. Yes, concurrently.
Winter Classic Reading Choice 2014: The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. I might be too much of a feminist to read this. Perhaps that is one of the things that upset me when I tried to read it in high school and ended up fake-reading it.
This week I have been grateful for:
- How time changes when I write.
- The son back at home.
- Frog-tunes outside my door.
- Bee action.
- The shapes nature makes.
- Watching a pair of squirrels build a nest in the neighbor’s tree outside my kitchen window. Fascinating. They take a mouthful of leaves, bind the stem ends with their paws to make a compact little bundle, and scoot up the tree with the bundle. Wish I could see how they build the nest.
- Watching the last bit of twitter-light color fade from the sky through the huge picture windows at the pool I use.
- My niece, who is working so hard to get her family ready to move to a new apartment which they need and are looking forward to. Moving is always better when it’s over.
- The lovely mild winter we’ve had.
- Spring blowing in with the wind.
Hoping you have a lovely week.
Namaste. Peace. Blessings.
Ribbon border by Laurel Burch