20-Something Years From Now, Would Your Children Consider You a Friend Or, Just a Mom?
As I watched my 4-year old daughter sleep, that was the question that ran through my head. When she becomes all grown and independent, would she consider me as her friend or would I restricted to the ‘mommy’ zone.
My gaze roamed over to my son and I again wondered what our relationship will be like in the future.
Okay, even though I may have done a bit of wondering that night, in the depth of my heart, I knew, without a doubt, the kind of relationship I coveted having with my children in the future.
Over time, I have seen so many uninspiring Parent/Adult-Child relationships. You know, those kinds of relationships empty of fondness and plagued with familiar unfamiliarity.
Mind you, it’s not like there is some kind of fight going on across their tables. Far from it. What I mean is that their relationships are kind of robotic. Everyone plays by the basic rules of engagement and that’s basically ‘it’. Nothing more. For example, the children send their parents money, visit them every now and then and offer due respect. The parents also play their own part. You know, coming around to take care of a grandchild who was just born and playing the ‘prayerful’ parent role expected of him/her.
There are the extreme cases where, in the middle of all these activities, there is that deafening silence. Yes, neither party has anything to talk about, asides from the weather and family matters/issues/problems. You won’t believe that they all lived under the same roof for at least 10 straight years. Then, there are those who fill the room with chatter and laughter about everything but the very things which matter most to them.
To be honest, I am not sure if I am communicating because for a woman who is old and grey, what more should she want than to be surrounded with established, well-to-do children who take good care of her? Yes, she does not really care what her children do or how they do what they do. So long as they are paying her bills and visiting every now and then, she should be fine and grateful. However, for me, all of those ‘basics’ are just not going to be enough.
To be honest, as I advance in age, I am not looking for caretakers or sponsors. Neither am I looking for children who will come over out of mere duty. So, really, what exactly do I want? What am I after?
For starters, I want children who will grow into adults that I can be proud of. I want to be able to boldly tell the world, ‘Yes, that’s my child’. Not because they are rich or influential but because they actually ‘listened’ while growing up and never let go of their moral compass. By the highest moral standard of all, I want them to be described as ‘good’, ‘kind’, ‘selfless’, ‘loving’….
I don’t want my relationship with them to be based on necessity alone. What I mean is that if they were not family and we all had the freedom of choosing whether ‘to relate’ or ‘not to relate’, I want our choices to be ‘to relate’. I want us to be like friends who share similar values. You know, we let down our hair, tuck our feet under our laps, guide our cups of coffee in hand and talk about both nothing and everything. Even in the midst of silence, I want our hearts to speak to each other and I want to watch our valid values being passed from one generation to the next.
I want the people that matter to them to matter to me and vice versa so that the boundaries of ‘in-law’ is broken and what we have is one big family made up all sorts of shapes and sizes, bound by common values and love.
Okay, let me stop talking about my dreams because talking never got anyone anywhere. For any of these things to happen, I am more than aware that the work begins with me and it begins now, irrespective of the age of my children. Everyday, I have to make that conscious decision to deposit things of value into the life of my children through prayers and actions.
What message is my lifestyle passing across to them? How much of my time am I giving to them? How exactly am I raising them?
The truth is that when all these things are in place, by default, I will have ‘carers’, ‘companions’ and ‘sponsors’ when I am old and grey and they, in return, will have all of me.
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net