Now that my memoir is becoming more of a reality, with sections of my manuscript getting closer and closer to completion, it’s provided opportunities for our family to talk about what happened two decades ago in ways that we couldn’t back then when we were stumbling through it.
Matt was eleven when he was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 1997. Steve was six.
Now they’re adults, 31 and 26, respectively, and our family is exploring parts of our mutual story that are just now coming to light. My writing and Matt’s have been the catalyst. The years have given us perspective and my son’s adulthood gives them the cognitive and emotional maturity to discuss hard things that happened.
I love the relationship I have with my adult children.
It’s important to respect the autonomy of adult children; they are not obligated to do what you their parents say anymore, and you mom and dad have no authority to impose consequences. Life will impose its own consequences whther you or your children like it or not.
There are guidelines that help guide what can be tricky communication. I try to always keep these in mind.
This past Easter weekend, both sons were hanging out in our living room during some down time before we went out to dinner. Steve slouched in the faux leather club chair, his leg slung over the high arm (my favorite position as well.) Matt sat on the red couch in front of the window.
Matt had asked me to look over some of his recent writing, so I sat next to him on the couch to share the laptop screen. He had written about some of the most difficult aspects of his recovery. I knew some of it, from a mother’s perspective, but I didn’t know how he experienced it.
Not only is Matt’s writing powerful, but I am even more in awe of his fortitude and determination to get to where he is today.
Steve didn’t say much. When he was a kid, we tried to protect him from the drama as much as possible, and I guess we were successful, as he didn’t know anything about the scene in question. Holy shit, he must have been thinking. But I didn’t press him. Steve likes space, and I respect him by giving it to him. If or when he’s ready to discuss things, he knows my husbdna and I are here for him.
Matt isn’t ready to share his recent writing, but if you haven’t seen his previous essay about his diagnosis day, you can read it here.
I believe as a family, we’re learning to appreciate each other more as we share our stories of those many, many difficult days.
And I appreciate the simple gift of sitting in the living room with my adult sons, all of us present, all of us healthy, enjoying an ordinary day. What a blessing.