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Wow, he is so much like you!

“He is so much like you!” is the most common statement I hear when family friends see us together. I suppose we look similar but I see more of his dad in his physical features. His sense of humor, love of books, want for solitude and quiet are all his father.He is an easy child to be with when things are good, which is often. I don’t see a lot of me in him when things are calm and lovely.

And then there are the other times. He is so much like me at times that it scares me.  I see anger build up in him when he sees injustice happening to him. I see posturing and standing his ground when he is hurting. I see sadness manifest into coldness in his face.

His reactions to unjust situations don’t surprise me. I don’t pretend to “know” what he is thinking or feeling. I don’t assume that because he came from me, that I know anything more than what he shows and shares with me. What I do know is that when I see his actions/reactions to things, they are too familiar and the pain pierces me deep. I try to talk to him about ways to express his sadness and upsets and tell him about how I feel when things hurt me.I think he understands it but I don’t know if he sees our connection yet.

It’s easy to talk the talk, give him resources to express his feelings, give him space to express himself and still be socially acceptable, and think that it will make a world of difference. BUT I know that there is more than that. This comes from his being. We have similar temperaments and I won’t do to him what was done to me. I won’t  tell him how he feels is wrong or unacceptable. I won’t look at him like he is just being difficult. I won’t tell him to just get over it. It’s not that easy. It’s who he is.

We are faced with similarities of the difficult kind. We deal with  the need to right the wrong with anger and force. I still have it in me. It doesn’t come out like it used to and there are times when I hurt holding it all in. But I’m a grown up and grown ups can’t hurt honestly so I “process” and “talk it out” until I get fed up and just let it out really angry and loud. I feel better afterward but I look around and see the damage I have to clean up. There’s no ‘win-win’. And so now I see my son with a path he may end up following if I can’t figure out a way to show him to be honest with himself about how he feels but without the reaction that will eventually only hurt him.

And now here I am trying to figure out how to make it so he can be so much like me without being anything like me.

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Posted by on July 16, 2012 in life with the pauls

 

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End of the welcome

As the plane landed into JFK and I was waiting to exit the plane into the terminal, I had a moment of sadness. Prior to September 2001, there was an amazing ritual in airports that we no longer participate in. The “YOU LANDED AND I LOVE SEEING YOU HERE” welcome that passengers would get as they walked into the terminal from the plane. Whatever the relationship of each person who welcomed or was welcomed after the flight had a moment of true happiness to being together. The plane landed and everyone was safe. It deserved the human connection and it came in hugs, kisses, whispers, etc…

I would take the BART to the Oakland airport, go to the terminals where the arriving planes were coming in and go sit down by the door and wait. As the arrival time got closed, people would start gathering closer to the door to wait for their loved one, friend, long time companion, new loves, old family member, long lost friend, new found partner, son, grandparent… As soon as the door would open up and the people would exit the plane and walk through the tunnel to the door and enter the terminal, they would be greeted with smiles, hugs, kisses, sweet welcomes, whispers, tenderness. Watching this would make me know that no matter how bad things can get, there are moments of true connections at the most random places.

We all exited the plane quietly, got to into the terminal and were all herded outside to wait for our rides at the drop off/pick up curb. No welcomes into the new city, no congratulations for making it safe, no moment of true happiness. It’s a lonely way to start your day after being in the sky.

I hope at some point in the struggles to find a way for safe air travel, we are able to allow to have friends, families, loved ones to come back to the terminal to say “hello, welcome and I’m glad you’re here with me again”.

 
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Posted by on August 20, 2010 in New York

 

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