I got to see two sweet and good souls this past Friday. Old friends of my son who drove cross country and stopped in my little town to spend the afternoon with me. I love these two people. They grew up with my son and so grew up in my home and to see them together and loving and to get the chance to spend time with them, well.. this was good.
And so I drove them around to show them the best of Ojai and then we sat and talked and shared. And, at one point, the conversation turned to those comments people make - in that bantering and sarcastic way - that we feel compelled to agree with even when we really don't.
The specific comment that came up was about their trip. A two month long, across America road trip that ended here on the west coast. Good luck with getting along after all that time..... or something like that was a common reaction. All in fun....
But not really.
But because the speaker is joking and making light of the situation, the reaction feels predetermined. We answer God, I know, hopefully we can get through a few weeks before it turns bad... or something like that. And then we feel bad. Because this is not what we feel at all. We feel that this trip will be miraculous and that we will love each minute of it and that those moments that are challenging are just part of the whole and good and right in their own right.
This type of comment, these subtly and judge-y and always sarcastic comments are always negative and often hard to stand up to. It's because they are offered camouflaged by humor and so if we don't agree we are being too serious or too forceful or too something... but we are not being what the offeror wants us to be. We're not responding in kind. And so we're not seen as kind.
Even though what was said in the first place was not kind at all.
I want to say I always never did agree to these kind of comments. That I was never compelled to answer the way that was expected. That I responded in true alignment with my truth and not with the flow that I was asked to jump on. But I am sure I went along with it all so not to be looked at as difficult or have others think I couldn't take a joke or make light of a situation.
But then I had my children.
The comments like this that get me the most riled are the ones about children. Specifically made by parents about their own children but then offered up so that I'll feel compelled to go along and agree. In this, I never did.
I loved being with my kids. (I love being with my kids still, but there are now adult kids and this example is when they were kid kids). I loved being with them. All the time. At every age. When they were sweet and little and smelled like babies I held them against my heart as much as I could. And when they toddled around the house and yard and world outside of just our home and challenged themselves and me every day. I loved them when they were still little but growing up and independent already. I loved them in their teenage years. Probably my favorite years in many ways. They were so smart. And interesting. And intuitive and the conversations were rich and full and funny, too. And I loved them when they went off into the world and began their own, deep and knowing, lives outside of our home and my heart.
And so, I always hated those comments about the dreaded summer when the kids were home from school and how happy they were that school was starting up again so that their kids would be out of their hair. Or how lousy their teenagers were and how they hated to drive everywhere and it will be so great when they are out of the house. And I really hated when these kind of comments were directed at me. Because the expectation was always an I know, I know, I can't wait either.
And I never said it. Ever.
To agree was a betrayal of my children. And I betrayal of the beautiful relationship I had with them. Of the truth of what we were - my kids and I. We were great. Even when we weren't. And I was never going to make someone else feel comfortable by agreeing with them if it betrayed the beauty and love and enjoyment of my children.
And so I would say I really love being with my kids and so the more they are home the happier I am or I love to drive my kids because then we get to spend time together and the car is the best place to have conversation. And often times people didn't know what to say. The fun and light and this is all in jest banter that was happening got serious really fast and then the conversation usually just ended. And I don't think I was liked very much.
But I didn't care. Not when it was about this.
And then this really cool thing happened. The ability to speak my truth so clearly when I was honoring my children started to carry over into honor me, too. And I found I had the strength to be clear and true to what was true in all things that came up. That I didn't have to agree in those times when the comments - dressed as jokes and highly sugared - felt uneasy and untrue.
I found I was able to say actually it will be an amazing trip even if there are times that are challenging.
Mother, Wife, Friend, Sister, Daughter, Dancer, Rower, Runner, Dog and Cat lover.