Awkward Conversations With People We Love

It’s the weekend and Rebecca and I are off to not so sunny Omagh to visit my dear old mother. We shall talk about the weather, soap operas and our various aches and pains. It’s what mothers and sons talk about isn’t it? Rebecca shall ask 34,575 questions on the way there and back. I shall answer approximately 8 of these and reply ‘I don’t know’ or ‘ask your mother’ to the remainder.

Mother will have prepared an extravagant lunch and insist that I eat everything placed in front of me or she will take offence. Have you ever seen that episode of ‘Father Ted’ where Mrs. Doyle insists that Ted takes a cup of tea? That’s Mother politely insisting that I take another chocolate biscuit and me politely declining because I’ve already eaten three and I’m fit to burst. Until I finally crumble and eat it. Anything for an easy life.

I only get to visit my mother about once a month although we do speak on the phone every evening. I make a real effort to maintain a relationship with her, especially since my father died eight years ago. She has lived a very quiet life since then having never really recovered from his loss. My sister and I have both tried to bring her out of her shell but she has stubbornly deflected all our best efforts.

Some evenings we have very little to talk about. She is a private person so feelings and emotions rarely break the surface. Some nights there is very little to talk about but I still make the effort. Often it is an exasperating monologue on my part with very little involvement on her part. Other times I can’t get her to stop talking. On occasion I’m tired and the last thing I want to do is make the call. I still do it anyway.

As mother-son relationships go ours is fine. It plods along. We love each other although we very rarely tell each other that we do. Heaven forbid! It is unspoken but it is known and no less stronger for that. I am blessed that I still have my mother. Every conversation we have is a gift, a bonus, an opportunity. Sometimes they feel like a chore, a duty, an obligation; but I never take them for granted because one day one of us will be gone and there will be no more talking.

I realised that when my father died. We also had a rocky relationship at times and there are many words I wished I had said to him before he left us. I hope he knows how I felt about him and what a positive and lasting impression his life has left upon mine. Often when I need to talk to Adam I wonder if what I say will impact upon his life and the choices he makes in the years to come. I pray that I speak wisely and guide him down the right paths.

Mothers Day has already passed in the U.K. but I realise that many of you further afield will be celebrating it this weekend. For those of you fortunate enough to still have your mothers with you make the most of this opportunity. Many of us, for a plethora of reasons, are unable to talk to our mothers or fathers this weekend no matter how badly we want to or how hard we have tried to. Some bridges cannot be crossed in death or life.

Our parents are not perfect but then neither are we. We are all human. And that means we are all flawed. So if you have to endure an awkward conversation with a parent or sibling this weekend just take a deep breath and get on with it. They are probably thinking exactly the same thought when they look at their phone and realise it’s you calling. Yet they will answer and make the effort just as you will. Through gritted, yet loving, teeth. Because that’s what we do.

Do you have awkward conversations with relatives?

Is there a relative you would give anything to talk to today?

30 thoughts on “Awkward Conversations With People We Love

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  1. Moat conversations I have with my Mother are awkward. We haven’t seen her since Christmas even though she only lives an hour away. I don’t call her and she doesn’t call me, we text every few weeks unless she wants something. She likes every post of mine on Facebook which gives the impression to the outside world she is a part of our lives when really she only knows what she sees on there. Ours a relationship that has struggled since I was a teenager and even when I do put the effort in its not reciprocated so I’ve learnt not to bother too much then I won’t be disappointed when I don’t get much in return. You do well to call your Mum every evening and I bet she really looks forward to those monthly visits,so she can feed you until you burst 😄

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  2. I just got off the phone with my mother, and read your post. Timely and encouraging. It is hard to have those tough conversations. My mom is 92 and experience health problems. My brother lives 10 minutes away, and he has all those hard conversations with her about end of life things. I am 1500 miles away and he keeps me informed.

    There are times I am thankful he takes care of all that stuff, but other times I feel bad that he has to shoulder the burden. He is a great brother and says it is his pleasure to have mom close and to discuss those things with her. I was just out there visiting a couple weeks ago and she was doing well then. I can only hope we have her for a while longer!

    Have a blessed Mother’s Day!

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  3. Yes and no, over the years I’ve learn to stay connected, because in the end they’ve always been there for me. They can be irritating at times, but God gives us the grace to endure them and still love them. But it’s good to go home to my own space, lol!

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  4. l love this post. thank you for sharing. I have a great relationship with my parents so awkward conversations are rare. However, since marrying and moving away from home, awkward conversations are far too frequent.

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  5. I talk with my mom every day, and so yes awkward conversations most definitely. But you are right I wouldn’t trade them for the world because she is the only living, anything I have left. No grandparents, no aunts or uncles, dad is gone.

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  6. I’m smiling, because the talking through gritted teeth to relatives is so relatable. Isn’t it strange to think that speaking with someone who raised you would be anything but comfortable and easy? I rarely speak to my mother, who lives in a far away state. She is an extreme talker, and easily offended, so most of our (very infrequent) conversations on the phone are quite one-sided. I’ve learned to just make it about her and pretty much say nothing, so at least she can hang up happy. Uggghh… I don’t have any relatives that I am close to, so I can’t say there are any that I would really look forward to speaking with. People who have such family members in their lives are very blessed.

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  7. Love this topic. My dad is very formal and has a tough time saying the words I love you, but his generous actions demonstrate his feelings and I have come to appreciate him more through the years. And I still tell him I love him at the conclusion of every conversation because he does enjoy hearing it.😊

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  8. Silence doesn’t bother me, MOST of the time. My dad is very quiet so I just go with the flow. Today, actually, we went out for lunch and talked quite a bit. I’ve learned to pick on topics he enjoys and feels comfortable discussing, and then sometimes he’ll ask about other stuff in my life that I haven’t covered. But yeah, especially with family members I can’t read, it’s like, “Come up with something!” Haha.

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