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Monday, September 21, 2009

Letter to my oldest son

I've been thinking a lot lately about how you relate to us and it's occurred to me that you don't really understand how this family thing works. That's okay. I don't think most nineteen year olds do, especially nineteen year olds who--at the last minute--opted to live at home and attend college for their first year instead of moving out in order to save money. The thing is, I think you have to live among people who don't love you before you truly appreciate the people who do. So in that regard, and only in that regard, I am looking forward to the day in which you face that realization. Sadly, we rarely make this leap until the moment we are left with only family to turn to.

I know your friends care about you; I remember that point in my life when I thought my friends were more important, but I'm here to tell you, it's not the same. You see, you can insult us, take us for granted, treat us like a hotel, behave insensitively, never apologize to us when you're wrong, be anything but graceful about helping around the house, and we'll open the door when you pull in the driveway, offer you food, talk with you, put aside what we're doing and listen to your day, but more than that, we'll love you--always, no matter what. Do you sense a trend here? This never goes away. We love you even when you are being unlovable. Go find a friend who will tolerate that.

Don't worry. We'll be here when you give up. As always.

7 comments:

Mrs. C said...

You stole my letter to my 16-y-o and just wrote in the bit about going to college, didn't you? Thief. :p

Scotty said...

Sounds awfully familiar to something I told my youngest boy just recently; he was having trouble understanding why some little things made me grumpy. I said, "Sure, they may only be small things at times, but they're constant, incessant even, and I guess you're not going to ever understand how forgiving a family is until you've moved out and tried all that same BS on a different group of people."

I'm waiting for the day when he comes home for a visit and tells me how much other people are on his case about things and he asks me why I'm smiling...

Pencil Writer said...

Growing up and becoming mature (i.e. appreciative) is often a stumbling here and there up the steps. We all backslide now and again, too. I know the frustrations and desires for the best in your off-spring. I'm praying the lesson doesn't take too long or become unbearably painful for any of the concerned parties--just enough to drive home the point. Thank God for families!

Debby said...

You know, I heard from a friend I had lost contact with. She's had a hard time. Her husband left her. He was a control freak. Her sisters both, through the years, tried to talk about it that she was 'abused' and that her children were too. She said, her voice thick with regret, "I yelled at them. I told them it wasn't true. I said terrible things to them." Her husband is out now, and working hard to make her miserable. P said to me, with wonder, 'and do you know, all my family came right back to me, encircled me...' and when I said, "They loved you always..." she cried. Families are great.

Mary Paddock said...

Mrs-C--I'm pretty sure most parents have written their own version of this. :)

Scotty-- I am too. :0

PW--As of today he's making amends.

Debby--Yes, indeed, they are.

Debby said...

I popped back to tell you that this stage does not last forever. I see that this particular thing has begun to wind down. I'm happy for you. It's a frustrating time.

Mary Paddock said...

Yes it is Debby. He's actually working over time to be decent at present. I think the distance between us and the hurt must have affected him as deeply as it did me.