Sister K and I are going home tonight to stay with Mom because Dad is out of town on business overnight. Originally it was just going to be Sister K going tonight and me going down tomorrow. Long story short of not wanting to each be driving cars down on separate days I decided to go this evening too.
Dad called the other night to talk about our upcoming visit. Last weekend, Sunday to be exact, I had a rather big blow up with Mom. I don’t know how it got so out of hand but it did. It was not one of my shining moments. She was mad, I was mad, and there was no resolution. I literally said good bye to my parents and got in the car to drive back here. I have never done that. I still don’t feel right about it but at the same time I was feeling very trapped, frustrated and at a loss for what to do next. I knew I had snapped. I also knew it wasn’t all my fault. But my family is not one to hold grudges and play the blame game. So I apologized later and we moved on.
But when Dad called he referenced the argument. He then used his “Dad tone”- very straightforward, kind, and respectful….a way that makes you listen without getting defensive or mad, a way that makes you realize the severity of a situation without getting scared…it is an art that after raising daughters for 28 years he has down to perfection. His words went something like this:
You Mom is sick. I am asking you to have unconditional love for her the same way she has for you all these years. I know it’s not going to be perfect. I know the house is an absolute mess right now. I know there are a lot of frustrations with Mom. But I am asking that when you come home this weekend to come home and just enjoy Mom. Enjoy your time with her. Don’t focus on the other things. Just focus on Mom. Because it really hurts her when you fight. I know she fights back but I know it hurts her. We don’t know where all of this is headed. So wouldn’t you rather know you enjoyed the time you had with her now while she is at a point where you can still do things with her rather than fighting about all these other issues. I know there are lots of frustrations and I hear them and I am doing everything I can to fix them. It’s just taking some time. But when you and Sister K fight with your Mom then I have to get involved and it wears on me. I realize this is in large part because of what MS is doing to your relationship because we never used to have these issues. The point is I am asking you to just come home and enjoy Mom.”
The above wasn’t said in a mean manner. I wasn’t upset once we were done talking. It was simply a matter of fact discussion. Discussions we have had many times before. Another one that stands out in my mind involved a college “not boyfriend/boyfriend” that Dad told me it was time to kick to the curb. It was 8 years ago but I still remember it like it was yesterday. But these are the kind of discussions where Dad speaks and you listen and understand. And you think about his words. And you let them seep into your mind. And you know you need to find a way to intertwine his recommendation into your actions. In my family when Dad speaks, we listen. This is not at all in a drill sergeant manner but in a my Dad means the world to me and I want to do right by him manner.
So in so many words that is what I will be trying to do this weekend. Not get frustrated by the other issues. Not get overwhelmed by our messy house or other things of that nature. I will just enjoy Mom. And come Monday I will tell you how successful I was at putting everything else aside.
I know it is a day early but have a nice weekend. Want to join me in my challenge? Try not to sweat the small stuff and focus on enjoying your loved ones this weekend.