“i miss you already” says my almost 20 YO son after a conversation this morning. He lives on his own, since one year already, and is not that simple to meet, even if holidays and summer with family are sacred and still a tradition, during the year we both have geographical and physical schedules that are not easy to match.
We end up seeing each other say once a month, plus the holidays, which at this age is pretty standard i guess ( at least he is replicating my own pattern, with the difference that I left the country little after his age, so I also stayed like few months away from family, which never happened yet in this case for him).
I know, rationally, he’s not missing me. As it should be, in a way. He’s in a brilliant school, has a million activities, including being president of the sport association of the school which sounds like a hobby but with hundreds of members and tons of activities believe me is not (i have been there, in the family we have an history of presidency of associations or sport clubs, starting with my dad). He also goes back to his mum not as often as before, even if they live 1h30 by train apart, for the same reasons.
Yet, he tells me what I love to hear.
And it’s important for TWO reasons: I don’t think I ever heard my dad saying I miss you, despite him being the kindest, generous, loving, faithful, genuinely good person I know. And i don’t blame him, at all, I have no trauma, nor any unbalanced shit I am dealing with, but I am uses to put words on feelings, and i say I love you when i mean it, and more. Always have been this way with my kids, and if there is one way to demonstrate in real life that love is contagious in every form, this is one of them: we all say I love youin my family, always did, always will. Actually, my daughter ends up every single call with me that way.
The second reason is that he realises how much I need to hear this, and he knows I am ALWAYS on his side no matter what, and this triggers this demonstration of feelings that by the way would not come natural to him (unlike my daughter, who is a love gesture whisperer) but there is not a single way we reconnect without hugging each other, and in that hug there is all we need to say, meaning “i m here, always”.
I have been reflecting a lot on how many opportunities we miss to show signs of affection and love, way beyond words, with actions as well, and sometimes we consciously decide not to, because we are lazy, because we think there is no need, because we don’t put ourselves in the shoes of the other person.
Sometimes we lie, Because we love.
We say what the other person needs to hear. To motivate, to help her create the reality she needs to overcome that hurdle, to make her smile, or simple to make her feel better.
We can open a giant debate about tough love, indeed, and i don’t want to get into that. I just want to share with you a moment of love, from one the most important persons in my life (impossible to establish a ranking here), and what made me think and feel.
It’s also tricky to “just be there” and “let them go” and at the same time is also a sign we did a good job as a parents, not only providing a safe space bur also respect the way they grew up in their own way and a constant way of inspiration as well.
I suspect there is a much bigger set of topics that will come out of this, once you open up the parenting pandora’s box. Not easy to share such a dept array of feelings, and also to expose that sort of fragility that is embedded in being a parent, something you don’t really get any instructions for but inevitably has “you been a child” as the natural comparison and source of good and bad bias.
SO stay tuned on this, folks.
Rebelliously yours (this time also because I dare to get REALLY personal)