The summer I left for college was brutal in my home. My mom, was mean. I know that sounds harsh but my sisters noticed it too. She picked at everything I did and argued with everything I said. It was a completely different relationship than I’d ever had with her and it was crazy.
Later, when I made her talk to me about it (I made that poor woman talk about everything. I’m surprised she let me in her house after a while!) she admitted that she was steeling herself for my loss. Her last kid leaving the nest and she realized that summer she’d have to reevaluate what she would do with her life. Mind you, she had a job my entire life, so the fact that she thought she had to rearrange her purpose was wild to me. Still, it was an explanation I appreciated at twenty, when we had our heart to heart. And today? Well, today I realize I’ve inherited that very same gene.
When this summer started I was so excited to spend it with my kids. I forgave myself some business “to-dos” in order to make time for hanging with my homies for the last summer before they’re all off to school. I had grand visions of baking and crafts and bike rides into town.
Then summer came and they wanted nothing to do with me. Sure, they need food occasionally and there are moments, usually where I’m smack in the middle of something, where they ask to play a game, but for the most part, they have shown me this summer that they are eachother’s best company and I am only needed on the periphery, to fill bellies and clean up toys or if no one else is available.
The problem is that when they do want me, I should be trying, no, shoving my way into their lives while I still can but instead, I’m pushing them away with various and creative excuses. When I noticed that little shift at summer’s beginning, I got mean. Now that we’re mid-summer and they’re bored with eachother and reaching back toward me, I find myself building my own steel walls.
“Find a game to play.”
“Ask your sister to help.”
“What snack can your reach on your own? Eat that.”
Or, perhaps the worst, the incessant promises of, “I’ll do it later. Just after I finish this one thing.” that never come.
I’m steeling myself for when they leave me. I’m realizing I have to reevaluate my purpose. Like my mom before me, I’m building a steel cage around my heart and being mean. I just hope they make me talk about it, like I did, so that I can tell them how much I love them, like she did.
Isn’t that what matters most?
I hope so, or else add this to the list of things I keep screwing up.
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