I wrote this two years ago.  And I am so happy to say that things have changed since then.

Our son was pretty much glued to me for many years.   A sweet natured and curious child, he was shy but determined, with eyes so deep, dark, and penetrating they sometimes took my breath away.  He filled me with a love I had never known before and the three of us shared such happiness together.

So it pains me greatly that today, he doesn't appear to want or need to be with me or his Dad.   I don't understand that.  He is thirty seven years old, so the word 'need' may be a bit strong, and men are different to women, so it's unfair to compare my own relationship with my parents to his relationship with us.  And I understand that things were different for me at that age.  I was married and he is not, and currently he has no partner.  When I was 37, he was ten years old, I ran a business and a household, and I needed and wanted my parents.   I loved and appreciated their support, their humour, their wisdom, their generosity.  I loved being with them at our house, I loved being with them at their house, I loved sharing our friends with them, I loved them sharing their friends with us, I loved the lunches, dinners, parties, bbq's, and many outings, I revelled in the family life that we shared, the joy and pride in each other's accomplishments, the comfort of sharing problems. 

But our son does not want this kind of relationship with us, and whilst I know it is unfair and unjust for me to even consider that he 'should' - my heart yearns for a closeness with him.  The conversations we have make it clear that he is busy, he is working and he cannot commit to any plan in the moment - at least with us.  But he must commit to plans with other people, surely?  To be fair, we do live two hours away from him, and he does not have a car - which of course has an impact, but he seems to manage life with public transport successfully.  Even when we are in Sydney, and willing to meet him anywhere, any time - he is unavailable, or clearly just 'not interested'. 

He is highly successful in his career as an award winning photographer and film maker and we are wildly proud of him and his achievements.  We know his life is demanding and full on with routine  18 hour days.   We love that - his passion for what he does, his legendary work ethics, his energy and his skill, and our pride knows no bounds.

But we miss our son.  We feel unvalued, that there are others more important than us in his life, who take precedence.  Arrangements with us are very loose - his plans change often.  Sometimes he will call a day or two before he is due to come for the weekend and cancel.  I admit that I have baked, and cooked, and cleaned and prepared his room for days, anticipating his arrival.  Occasionally, he will call out of the blue and say 'Can I come for the night tomorrow?' - then we hurriedly change plans, thrilled at the prospect of time with our son.

I write this feeling frustrated and disappointed.  I have shared excitedly with him for three months that his grand cousin from Africa is here for the one and a half days this weekend, before flying back to South Africa on Monday.  And his Dad and I are travelling to Sydney and his Aunt and Uncle travelling from Canberra,  for a family reunion at the beach with all of his cousins, their partners, and their kids - a rare event in our lives with family living on several continents.   And still he is unable to commit.  'Let's talk tomorrow' he says.  (As it transpires, he never came.)

I came from a background where the motto could have been "Family Above All", and our son lived in three generations of family daily.  Whilst my heart asks questions and I sometimes cry from the ache in my heart, I know there is no more we can do - in fact the more we do, it seems the less we receive.  It's up to him - maybe he will, maybe he won't.  

We have a rich and full life with many interests and many loving friends, and we are happy in every other way.

We just have to wait.

Sandra GroomComment