Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Reading the Signs
Last month, before Fritz's parents came out here to the land of moss to live near us, I worried. "I just hope they'll like what we've done, setting up the apartment." Meaning more than that.
Said my listening friend, "You know they won't." Which left me gasping with a sudden absolute acknowledgement that she was right.
Not that she was absolutely right. When the time came and my in-laws, too, they smiled clear smiles voicing open pleasure in the bedspreads and lamps, stacked towels and shelved cans of food - taking all our efforts as it was meant - evidence of care for their comfort.
But my friend's words were right on a deeper level. She herself a grandmother, a mother of grown children, and a mother-in-law. She knows the tugs and snags and undercurrents those varying relationships must sail their way through.
"You've got to know it's going to be hard for them to leave their home and come here where they know no one."
There were other things said, things that helped. (No need to repeat any others . . . if once be once too many . . . )
Most helpful of all was what my mother said (after wild imaginings of all impossible worst scenarios and our laughter dying down into hiccups). My mom said, gently, into the phone, "So then, just do what you would do if it were me there. If it were your dad and I."
Which gave me permission I hadn't known I'd been needing - to enjoy these other parents and stop wishing it were mine moving so near.
And it helped, too, my dad getting teary-eyed (yes, it was over the phone, audio only, but I do know what that throat-clearing sound means . . . ) when I told him the other day how it was working out just fine and what Mom had said to me and how it opened the door for me, how I had gone into Portland for an appointment with Fritz' father and then gone wandering around the streets with him - "like you would have done, Dad. Scouting out the terrain. And it was easy."
A pause. "I'm so glad," he said, throat-clearing with a vengeance, ". . . yeah."