Phone calls are helping rebuild a relationship.
25 years or more have passed, and my son finally told me about a hard memory. I don’t recall the incident, but everything sounded in line with who I was at the time. I asked for forgiveness for “shutting him down,” not letting him say all of what was inside of him. His words must have scared me.
Parenting is, in my reality, the hardest job in the world. I wonder how many times I messed up in that job. Actually, I don’t want to know. I did the best I knew at the time, but I’m sure I messed up plenty.
This son was a teenager and I was a busy mom trying to juggle a career. He says that he was talking to me in the jeep one day and that I suddenly slammed on the brakes and said, “Never say that again.”
I wounded my son that day by not listening to him. Now I cannot go back and make it different. How do I fix this? I have asked for forgiveness, I have told him I want a new beginning. We agree that I am not who I was 25 years ago, nor is he. My son and I have lived through his college years, through 9-11, marriage, baby, work, a divorce. Life has moved on in a civilized way. However, unspoken pain has lived in him. Perhaps fear stood between us. Maybe he did not want to rock a boat or risk my disapproval.
I am believing this earthly world is here for us to learn love. Maybe a boat needs to be rocked sometimes. Whatever it takes to listen to my son’s reality and to say my reality. I have not graduated from the school of learning love and I never will. I was a teacher for years, then a counselor for 20 more years, now a poet/writer and always, I am learning about love.
I count it as a blessing that this rift over the presidential election evolved between my son and me. It gave us a chance to really talk about the present and the past. It gave me a chance to say to him and to God, “I probably did do that. It was wrong of me. Will you forgive me?”
God used a presidential race to bring unspoken brokenness in my family into the light. Amazing grace. Now, I need to do the work of trusting. It is work. It is love. It takes time and attentiveness to pray, to trust, to be thankful. Maybe it’s the work that precedes miracles.
Photo by Jimmy Durmon on Shipps Drive, Norfork, Arkansas. December 2016.