"I like you." We're sitting at a table in the food court breaking bread together when only daughter says this to me today. "Oh," I think to myself. What sweet words to my ears. Maybe it was because I had just bought her lunch and to a struggling student actor food ranks right up there with a roof over your head and clothes on your back. Just kidding - I know it came from a place much deeper than a full belly.
I realized this past weekend that it is much less stressful to have adult children who live away from you than children of any age living in your house. I also realized that having kids in the house makes me want to eat the nearest available food. The ten plus pounds I recently lost have oh, so been found. Sigh.
There was a time when the fantasy played out in my head that we would gather around a perfectly set table and everything that pressured filled scenario implies. Good thing I let go of that expectation somewhere along the way to this weekend. Our first weekend where all our kids came home for a holiday. It felt like a Holy day in more ways than one. Supper was ready for nearly an hour before people showed up to eat it. No one ate the pie I bought from the store and that made me glad that I didn't feel pressured into making one from scratch. Just a few years (weeks?) ago I would have been a basket case when my plan didn't turn out to be the plan.
I came home from Easter Vigil Saturday night (at 1:30 am no less!) to find one of my relaxation CDs playing, all the lights off and umpteen dozen candles lit. Youngest son and his girlfriend were still there and they talked about how peaceful our home is and how they want to spend time here more often. Having wished and worked at making a home a haven it was so nice to hear it affirmed. And from youngest son who has forced me into prayer overtime lately, too.
Oldest son and his girlfriend came after suppertime due to work schedules and how nice it was when I asked if she was hungry to hear that she was starved. Happily they ate leftovers and we had such a good visit. She fits right in and feels comfortable with us. I feel blessed. Oldest son has lost his angry countenance and has a happiness about him that thrills me.
Somehow, after 20 years of making it about me and about my kids' behaviour, I have found this place where I am able to embrace who they are as people, separate from myself. Where relationship comes first. Where mercy trumps judgement. Where I finally see them as equals. A place, by the grace of God, where I can say, "I like me too, dear girl."