Ah, the holidays! Just when I thought things were getting easier – no more racing to the store on Black Friday to get a Furby toy or a Nintendo Game Boy. Instead, as a mother of a teenager and college student, I now have to figure out how to get quality time with my young adults over the holidays – sharing them with friends, girlfriends and their myriad of social activities. When they were young, I never had to worry about whether I would eat Thanksgiving turkey with my children, but instead stewed over whether they would have good table manners around my relatives and whether I could keep them calm as the Christmas decorations came out of the attic that weekend.
The week before Thanksgiving my college-aged son called to inform me the that he may not have time for all of the family gatherings planned for the upcoming holiday weekend. I couldn’t believe my ears. I knew he was overwhelmed with numerous college papers and exams (and probably sleep deprived), but I didn’t think we had come to that time of life where we may not eat Thanksgiving dinner together. Was this going to be the beginning of new traditions for our family? And, who was going to tell my mother that my son may not be at Thanksgiving dinner? I promptly told him, it would not be me.
As I contemplated his words, I took the advice of a wise friend, took a deep breath and tried not to react. I talked to my son about how much it would mean to all the relatives to have him at the various family dinners. I explained how much they all looked forward to seeing him again since he had been away to college. None of my responses swayed his thoughts. Finally, I decided to get “real” with him about the reason I wanted him there and ended the phone conversation by saying, “Really what is most important is for me to spend time with you this weekend.” He answered on the other end, “Why didn’t you just say so, Mom?”
I continue to learn from my children. Although some days seem like they are slipping away from me (and I know they are), I learned from my son this holiday that they still want to know we love them and want to spend time with them. The result this Thanksgiving was that my son did attend all of the Thanksgiving dinners (even making a dish of his own this year to contribute). We all even enjoyed going to the movies together one night – just the four of us. I know these days won’t last forever, so in the meantime, I am going to savor every minute I get with my children this holiday season – even the often challenging dinner-time conversations – as my little ones are becoming adults themselves.