My Children: the strangers
One of the toughest things that I do is being a Mom. It's hard because you raise your children to be strong, independent people, but yet, you want them to obey you, too. I have found, recently, that my kids need to have a little less independence and a little more structure to their lives. Even though we don't have to be eyeball to eyeball with them all the time at this age, they still aren't all grown up yet (even though they look like it!)
My greatest sorrow is the loss of my connection with my children over the last couple of years. Once they hit those teenage years, everything started to shift. I felt like I could take more time for myself and for my relationship with my husband, because they were more independent and able to be on their own more. But in reality, I have left my children drifting without a compass.
One of the things that has always defined our family until recent years has been that we always have dinner together. Unfortunately, with everyone running 15 different directions at once, our "dinner hour" has been shattered. Now, if we have popcorn together, it's a big thing. Even when we go out together, we are fragmented in our discussions. It's always about what's happening next in the day, which is good, but never really gets to the heart of who we are as individuals. It's never really about what we hope for or what our thoughts are.
Michael and I tend to do that kind of talking regularly, between the two of us, and it really helps us live with one another, and we have grown closer over the past couple of years. But we so infrequently spend time with our kids that they are becoming strangers to us.
It seems to be so hard in this active world we live in to take the time to listen to our kids, so we just don't get it done. And that's a shame...because it seems like the only time I talk to them is when I have something to chew them out for, or yet another chore for them to do, or when they are yelling at me about something that the other one did to them.
Maybe part of the magic of being a good mom is taking that time to just sit and listen to the banal chatter about Halo or about AFI or about whatever other subject is the most important thing in my children's life. I feel disconnected with them right now.
And if I am feeling lonely for them, they must be feeling lonely for me, too.