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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Read the lines.


Our whole history is written on our faces, our bodies, our ear lobes,hair, skin, gestures.
Whatever lives we live, our bodies bear witnesses to our history, to our parents' history, to how well we eat, how well we manage challenges.

When you were little, you mother could trace the history of the family tree just by noticing how you had grown, how your posture matched Uncle Carl, how your digestive problem was the same as her brother Jim. Your mother could read everything you did during the day by the wrinkles on your skirt, the flush on your skin, the bounce in your step.

She was the clearest mirror you had in your life.


My children are all grown, and if I see lines during our visits, after we have left each other's company, I worry and worry about what I have read. When they were little I could come right out and ask them. Now, not so.
Having read lines, do we respect the other's privacy, or do we involve ourselves in their lives?

What do we do?
How do we maintain boundaries and still support each other?







40 comments:

Grandmother said...

Ask them this very question. In the very way you asked us. What do they want in relationship to you? You'll figure it out together. The boundary between privacy and support, the extent of your communication is yours to set together. They're probably yearning for you as you are for them.

Suz said...

from the lines I just read, I think you already have the answer
you gather, you love
words do not need to be spoken
we speak with our bodies
hugs and availability

Helen said...

Rosaria, you have asked a most interesting question. My children are 50,49,48,43. I do notice their faces, posture, animation, sadness and can only hope if they are hurting or if they are in some kind of trouble they will share with me. Same goes for my 18 and 15 year old grandchildren. Though, I can say I never shared any of my pain with my own mother. I wish now I had ... she could have provided me with insight I didn't possess then. Great post!! It is beautiful in Bend today, hope it is in Port Orford.

becky said...

Oh, I know what you mean. I think I grieve a little now when I see my children begin to get lines...sometimes when they go through strenuous things, the lines get deeper...then things get better and I feel better. However, I never say anything...they won't want to hear me say they're getting lines so we just talk about the things they've experienced. If they want to reveal things to me, that's a bonus :)

oceangirl said...

I don't know Rosaria but please do what your heart tells you to do when it comes to children. Do not worry about what they want, do what you want. They are your children.

Thank you Rosaria, for your visit today. It means a lot to me.

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

I have no children of my own so I miss all this side of growing up and getting older. Both my parents were only children and my only brother was killed in a car accident at the age of 21. I miss so much..... Diane

Eva Gallant said...

I have two sons and a step son; both my sons share what's going on in their lives with me. My stepson does not share much of anything with Mr. Eva, and I wish he did. I feel guilty sometimes that my sons each call me 2 or 3 times per week to share how work is going, what the kids are doing, etc. My kids both live less than an hour away. Mr. Eva's son lives around 3000 miles away, and though he calls 2 or 3 times per month, we don't know much of his life.

dianefaith said...

We can even "see" the lines and sense the stress by simply hearing the voice in a phone call. Or, at least I think I can. I'm careful about that, though, and don't assume that I know reasons for whatever emotion I'm sensing. My mother would often conjure up whole, distressing scenarios after we had talked.
Thanks for your post; you have a way of honing in on issues that confront us all.

ellen abbott said...

you ask if something is bothering them or if they are worried about something. if they want to talk about it they will.

Brian Miller said...

i def think with grown kids it is a tentative balance...keep the conversation going and allow them to tel you when to drop it...i like grandmothers idea as well...

Terra said...

That is a delicate balance of knowing when and what to ask of others.

the walking man said...

One of my sons moved four states over for a better job. I don't ask him about anything other than his general well being. When he steps into something he, like my other two will call and tell me. If there is an issue they do not want me to kow about or I have a hint about but they do not want to tell me then at their age I let them live as the good adults they have become. I may have some concern but if they don't call me for bail money then I won't go where I am not invited.

quilterliz said...

G'day Rosaria. That is a lovely post and how true. I find I can ask my son is everything ok in his world and he will talk to me. My daughter is more reserved, but then so was my mother, who wouldn't discuss a lot of things and I think her mother was the same.We can only do what our heart tells us to and hope that it's right. Take care. Liz...

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

You follow your heart and your mother's sense of the right approach with each one, Rosaria. Probably the best thing you can do -- which you've probably done for years already -- is to give your children, whether small or grown, the sense that you are open to hearing anything they may choose to tell you and that nothing will be made worse by sharing it with you.

Rob-bear said...

We have two children who are approaching 40something. We all live in the same city, and see each other regularly. But other than just talking generally, or mentioning something from the past which they have shared, I try not to say a lot.
If they have something they want me to know, they'll tell me.

Journeyin' Lady... said...

It is a fine line isn't it? I have also learned that the line is a bit different for each of my three adult children. I just have to remember that when talking to them!

Donna said...

I think face lines are wonderful...a reminder of the many smiles in life!! Yours are beautiful, Roasaria!!

da coach said...

Very good article,the reason and the rhyme of life

Lydia said...

What a fascinating post. I have often thought what my mother would read in my face now. She died when I was 49, when I still looked young for my age. I am positive of this: if she were still in her home only a mile away and I were to spend an afternoon or evening with her, she would study me and before I left she would simply ask, "Honey, what's wrong?"

xo

erin said...

we don't worry, rosaria. we see and then we speak. we stand side by side. worrying is a burden for both the worrying and the one who is being worried about. equally. the burden affects each with the same magnitude.

i know this of my mother. i do not want her worry. if i want anything then it is only her witness.

if we accept life is difficult for all of us, there is no need to worry. instead, we say, i see you. i am here with you.

xo
erin

Carol@The Writers Porch said...

This is a great post Rosaria!
My 2 sons are the oldest and having heard so many jokes about M-I-L's, I made a promise to myself to never butt into their lives. It's worked! I listen , don't give my opinion or advice unless I'm asked and then I don't expect them to heed it. My daughter is different,we are extremely close and she always wants my opinion and tells me more than I want to know but I still try to stay out of her personal life as much as I can. I'm really enjoying my adult children and I'm so proud of the people they have become. XO

Maggie May said...

I think we just need to be open and talk and ask.
Great post.
Maggie X

Nuts in May

potsoc said...

Be there, be open and available but don't prod beyond "how are things your way?" Then wait for an answer, none coming? The fruit is not ripe, don't push it.

A Cuban In London said...

This is a very powerful post about experience and the type of relationship we want with (and expect of) our children. The lines can say whatever they want to, but ultimately it is up to them to carve them out.

Gretings from London.

JeannetteLS said...

Of course, with all your worrying, the next time, perhaps your children will see YOUR lines and ask you what's wrong... Follow your heart, but gently. My guess is that, even if you overstep, the consequences won't be very harsh. Who has ever been TOO insulted with the question, "Are you okay? I'm your mother and, well, you know moms worry." They may laugh it off, they may say they don't really know or don't want to talk about it... or they may talk. My guess is you already do this.

I always wonder where that line is with my son, who is almost 39. He is closed off, like his dad. But when I push a bit, he talks, and then I have learned to let him breathe. Hard lessons. Beautiful lessons... and sometimes the lines are beautiful.

yaya said...

It is interesting to see how our children have shaped their lives and how some family traits have been passed down. The wrinkles and gray hair surprise me when I see them on their faces..then again, I'm very often surprised when I see them on mine! I have 4 sons, each of them different in how they share their lives with us...I just try to be the listening ear and open heart..always there if needed.

She Writes said...

My mother never read the lines. I can't imagine. But I see the lines in those I love. And all I can do is love them and trace those lines with my eyes until they tell me where they came from. Love is a powerful offering. It is what we are left with. I hope it is enough.

Patricia said...

What a good question, Rosaria. Sometimes I think we do too much in the name of protecting privacy. Sometimes I think we need someone to show an open door, and entryway so we can share if we choose to. With my children, I am also hesitant to "intrude" but I if I am worried about them, I will try to say something that lets them know I sense they may have a concern and ask if they are OK. They can choose to enter the doorway or not.

RNSANE said...

Sometimes it is really hard not to speak up when we feel our kids are having a rough patch but I try to just be loving and not offer any dialogue unless they seem to encourage it. I only have three sons and they will often come to me if I don't pry too much!

Cynthia Pittmann said...

Yes, Rosaria, I'm going through a similar challenge. It's a part of our evolution as parents- though in my case the separation is just beginning. Thanks for the visit to Puerto Rico! Your writing and following numbers are tremendous!
Congratulations!

Foodness Gracious said...

Thanks for stopping by Foodness Gracious Rosaria. I love that pic you are using as a header, almost feel like I'm right there at the edge of the cliff!
Take care..

Anonymous said...

As a 41 year old with no relationship with her mother, I would relish a mother who simply asked "is everything ok?" and genuinely meant it. A mother who would listen and give sage advice. Adult relationships are two way streets, no mater the role of the two adults. Both give and both take. Both need.
With my own two daughters, 16 and 19, I tell them its my job to worry when they tell me not to. I respect the boundary when they set it, but I always, always let them know that I love them and will always be there to support them.
I swear that even though they may be a little frustrated with me at times, they do smile a little at the end of our conversations.

Mona said...

I am so glad I found your blog...my children are 36 and 35 and I know what you mean. I love them where they are and trust that they will talk when they feel it is time...I always try to lessen their dependence on me and encourage them to share with their mates..but they KNOW I am always here and ALWAYS on their side... thanks for a timely blog for me...

Amanda said...

an age old question, rosaria. i don't have an answer, either. i just keep on fumbling around, making some mistakes and some successes. in the end, we can only be ourselves and do our best - and i think whether they admit it or not, kids respect us for being authentic.

Therese said...

Thanks, Rosaria, for asking vital questions. I tend to use "I" statements with my loved ones. I am concerned; I am worried; I love you; what can I do to help?

Pat transplanted to MN said...

Well we live in another part of the country from remaining son and DIL & grands, but when I see a photo and notiuce something I ask. They may not want to reply and so I just let it go.

I can tell in my own face when I have had a bad time of it, lines are clearly readable.

Good speculation you have raised. Reading the other comments, I find some of the same bloggers I've known here on yours...interesting...how we connect

Dawn said...

Oh my goodness. It's like you have seen into my home this past week. I have been questioning this myself...and wondering where DO I draw the line. I'm trying to make myself available- but not nosy. Trying to stay connected....but letting them fly alone. Oh it's hard. One I'm pondering daily right now:(

Cloudia said...

wise post.


kindness knows that to refrain is also love!

Ah, cats don't have these problems-


Warm Aloha from Waikiki;

Comfort Spiral


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Hilary said...

The best we can do is to let them know that we want to listen. Somewhere between not wanting to burden us and not wanting to involve us, there might be a bit of an opening.

Nance said...

I see the lines, but I don't read them. I've always assumed that those lines had to do with musculature and movement, not character or circumstances. Genes and gravity, not particular life events or concerns.

What they mean to me, then, is that our children are only here for a finite time, just as we are...and that is, as you know, the most unbearable thought.