Our kitchen in my parent’s house seems to be the backdrop for all the serious family discussions we have ever had. They don’t take place on the couches in the living room, we never use the dining room, occasionally when we were younger and in trouble we had to go talk to my parents in their bedroom, but the kitchen has always been where all the action happens. It is where our family plays out. Where we eat, where we laugh, where we have spontaneous dance parties, where we yell, where we fight, where we make up, where we celebrate coming home, where we say good bye to our parents- it all takes place in the kitchen.
So Saturday night it only makes sense that when we needed to have a serious discussion with Mom, it took place in the kitchen. It was a conversation of sorts that had been on Sister K’s mind and my mind a lot recently. I knew there were things that needed to be said to both Mom and Dad. We were concerned about Dad being spread too thin, we were frustrated with Mom’s approach to everything, in a way we believe Mom isn’t admitting she has MS. She admitted that to us in so many words as we were discussing it Saturday night. It was a heated discussion. It was tough. A lot was said. I can’t even really remember all of it. Mom was very upset by the time we were done. She went to bed crying and didn’t sleep a lot. I don’t think any of us slept a lot. To say it again, it was a tough conversation.
When we were done, Mom and Dad left the room to get ready for bed. I stood in the kitchen with Sister K pouring myself a glass of water. She started crying. I gave her a hug. I didn’t cry though which was surprising. I did feel a surge of emotions though. I am sorry this had to come to this- I am sorry these thoughts have been brewing inside of our heads and we had to talk about them like this; I am sorry they couldn’t be solved without a big conversation like this; I am frustrated Mom and Dad haven’t taken the initiative to solve these issues without a big conversation like this; I am sad we made Mom so upset; I am sad Mom is so sad; I am nervous about what the future holds; I feel relief knowing I got a lot off of my chest about everything; I also feel worried we don’t know what we are doing or how to handle this; and, I still feel confused as to why all of this is happening to us. Why us. Why my family. Why can’t this all just go away. Where is all of this heading.
In 24 hours we had gone from having the best moments with Mom to having the worst moments with Mom. In the same way that the memory of our wonderful day will always be there, so will the memory of one of our darkest discussions. I think the reason it was so tough is because Mom just kept saying she had no idea we felt this way. Part of me thinks that may in fact be the case. If she isn’t admitting she has MS then she isn’t admitting any of these other issues exist. This is what we are facing now. But I reminded myself and reminded Sister K, if we didn’t care about our family we wouldn’t have had that discussion. We would’ve simply walked away from it all. We wouldn’t be fighting with our family for our family. We would have given up. We wouldn’t care anymore. And that is a situation neither of us could imagine.
Was there a resolution to all of this? Not really. Do I know if it will do any good? No I don’t. But what I do know is Sister K and I don’t feel this enormous weight of things left unsaid. Not making Mom aware of our fears regarding Dad and the stress he is under and not making her aware of the fears regarding herself. I don’t know where it will all head from here. That is where I realize even more so that none of this is in my control. The only thing I can control is my faith. It’s my faith that is going to give me what I need to get me through this. That and a kitchen that has seen my family through the smiles and the tears of my life. Our kitchen is like an old friend. It believe in us, believes in our family. I believe it knows we will get through this, that we will soon gather there again to laugh and commisserate as we continue to deal with all life throws at us, whether it is MS related or not.
Is there a room in your house that serves as the backdrop to the majority of your family moments? Do you have any experience confronting tough issues with loved ones? Would you believe we are not big cooks in my family even though we spend the majority of our time in the kitchen?