Just a little break from the normal politics and fawkery…
I was strolling through the interwebs and came up with a post on Lifehacker that provides strategies on dealing with family members that drive one crazy. Read through the comments – oftentimes the comments are more interesting than the blog post itself.
A couple of the commenters appeared to be in their early to mid teens judging from the situations they describe. They talk about having hatred for their parents, not wanting to form/improve any kind of relationship with them, etc. For the sake of this post, I am assuming that these two people are not abused and are living fairly “typical” teenage lives.
Speaking as someone who has spent a quarter-century on this planet, I really hope these two people gain some perspective. In fact, one other person followed up with a comment that really resonates with the point I am wanting to convey here:
Step one: remember that some day, your mother will die. And remember that death is forever and ever.
Step two: try and imagine what it will be like with her gone. Think of the silence where she once will have been. Think of the space where she once will have stood. Imagine the empty, barely-perceptible breeze in the living room, the kitchen, the hallway, that was once her body, flitting to and fro.
Step three: while imagining what it will be like with her dead forever, add a whopping dollop of regret about the fact that, at some point, you stopped trying to connect with the person who squirted you out of a hole which, while flexible, is not normally bigger than your thumb.
Step four: maybe try picturing her as your age. If she still has photos, check them out. Ask her what being your age was like for her. What hopes and dreams did she have in that carefree time before she gave them all up just to raise you?
Step five: ask yourself: if she died tomorrow, instead of in twenty or so years, will you honestly want to have had the negative feelings about her that you do today? How might you feel then about how you feel now?
(optional) Be super sad. When she asks about it, tell her the plain, honest truth. Let her hug you. Remember her hugging you; store it away for when she really does die, because you’re going to need that memory badly then.
We all only have one shot at this game called life. Family – especially siblings – are among the few people who will be there with you from cradle to grave.