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Give and Take. Wednesday July 20, 2016

The Boomerang Generation it's called.

As parents you think you have successfully launched your children into the world, to make their own way and to stand independently on their own feet. Then, before you have even had a chance to run away to Florida without giving them your forwarding address, they're back! Sometimes they come back when they didn't even start with you in the first place, as has happened with the son we adopted as an adult.

So yes, we have Tom living with us. Not just staying for a while; he's actually living here and this is his official address. And with him, his Jenny. (And for those of you with eidetic memories who recall that they split up – yes – they're back together and highly delighted we all are too!)

Suddenly the house is very full. Full not just physically, but emotionally.

Tom and Jenny do things differently. They have their own habits and rhythms which are different from the previous practices and traditions of this household. Inevitably, there is friction.

But, blessedly, there is also communication. Tom is excellent at this.

A while ago Lex published a blog on emotional bank accounts. We have recently had a practical demonstration, involving many slips of paper, a notice-board and some bitter complaining on the part of people who didn't quite understand why they were so overdrawn with other members of the family.

It was salutary, but ultimately useful, to see how neglected some of our relationships had become. It was useful for my eldest daughter to see that her constant hugs and positive affirmations to all members of the family bear the fruits of easy love and gratitude. She has a healthy balance with everyone. It was probably just as useful but less comfortable for my youngest daughter to realise the effect of some of her actions. And yes – I had to assimilate and swallow the consequences of my own emotional withdrawal and demand for solitude.

So we have started the long process of mending, renewing and repairing.

I spent yesterday at a theme park with my youngest, getting scared and uncomfortable on the rides - and paying money to do it! It wasn't entirely unpleasant however, and the reward was that my daughter opened up to me on the way home and actually started talking.
Which meant an uncomfortable chat with her father as I explained that she really, really, doesn't want to do what he has planned for her this Summer.

Often communication means hearing things that are uncomfortable and saying things we don't want to say.

As Tom says, "It has to get worse before it gets better, Mum!"

We've all agreed to communicate more. How can I expect Tom and Jenny to follow the rules if I don't explain the rules first?

So, rule number one: Put the blasted toilet seat down. Yes, both bits. That means you, Tom!

A Moodscope member

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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Belinda Wed, Jul 20th 2016 @ 6:19am

Dear Mary, thank you for a lovely picture of family life. I get the undercurrents, and I have understood the need for communication...........sadly I have ended up alone. I don't know which is better. At least I have peace. I am beginning to learn about humour too.
Lovely last sentence, at least the new toilet seats will finish the job themselves if initiated. Satisfying.
A really good blog. Thank you Mary. x

Mary Wednesday Wed, Jul 20th 2016 @ 12:28pm

Thank you Belinda

Lou Wed, Jul 20th 2016 @ 6:34am

"Often communication means hearing things that are uncomfortable and saying things we don't want to say."

Very wise words indeed Mary; you have set me thinking and I suspect that this will keep me pondering for a while, thank you.


Orangeblossom Wed, Jul 20th 2016 @ 6:45am

Thanks Mary for the food for thought on the important subject of communication

Isabella Wed, Jul 20th 2016 @ 6:51am

Dear Mary, lovely picture of family life - you seem to have it sussed! Reminds me of a conversation with a colleague the other day. She was saying how she gets upset at our boss's remarks and actions. We have such high expectations of others then we get disappointed when they don't do or react like we expect. We can't change them, so we have to change our reaction - it is completely down to us. The toilet seat is a classic - but I've realised that it matters not one jot to our son and it never will - it's simply not in his brain. So now I just mumble to myself and feel calmer for it, as that particular issue is not worth the fight. Bigger issues - well we have to work at those.....but remember to look to ourselves first.
Your son sounds lovely - ours is too, except for toilet seats, and banging doors, and not taking the rubbish out..........xx

Mary Wednesday Wed, Jul 20th 2016 @ 12:29pm

Oh Isabella, we are very far from having it sussed. But at least we are still talking and I suspect that is most of it. I realised though that my youngest just doesn't feel listened to most of the time.

Hopeful One Wed, Jul 20th 2016 @ 7:50am

Hi Mary- so important communication specially in relationships especially when in love as Billy Joel puts it so well in 'Tell her about it'

Tell her about it
Tell her everything you feel
Give her every reason to accept
That you're for real

Tell her about it
Tell her all your crazy dreams
Let her know you need her
Let her know how much she means

Listen boy
It's not automatically a certain guarantee
To insure yourself
You've got to provide communication constantly

Ah! those toilet seats could I argue that females should put them up after THEY finish? Maybe the Japanese have invented a seat that does it remotely to suit both tastes?

My joke follows.

Mary Wednesday Wed, Jul 20th 2016 @ 12:30pm

I feel a long and impassioned debate on toilet seats coming on! But yes - Billy Joel's lyrics are true indeed. Thank you.

Hopeful One Wed, Jul 20th 2016 @ 7:55am

Hi Mary- here is the joke. I told it to RATG yesterday so some of you may have missed it.

Do not ignore laughter as a means of communication- it nearly always breaks the ice.

This bugler went to this big house belonging to the Minister. Before he had even taken two steps, he heard a voice say "Jesus is watching you and so am I" The burglar turned around and saw a parrot in a cage "Oh it's just a stupid bird" he said .He took a couple more steps,and heard the parrot say "Jesus is watching you and so am I" "Shut up you stupid bird" he said again . As he continued he was about level with the dinning table when he heard the parrot say "Jesus is watching you and so am I" Before he could turn to say shut up he heard a low growl come from under the table and a huge pit bull came out and the parrot said "Sic um Jesus"

Mary Wednesday Wed, Jul 20th 2016 @ 12:30pm

Grrrr - go Jesus!

LillyPet Wed, Jul 20th 2016 @ 8:00am

Hi Mary,
I' happy for you all about your Tom and Jenny. For me,
one good thing about the boomerang generation is that it cushions the thought of empty nest sadness.
I have been so caught up in treading water that I have neglected all other family and friend relationships in terms of quality time and real communication. I just about manage to say hi you 're in my thoughts to most of them. I did make a point of dropping my to do list to go for lunch and a trip to a diy store with my dad last week. Very important, lovely and good for both of us.
Am going on holiday in a couple of days and am fortunate that my two love to come too. Unfortunately my son has to work, so he'll do his own thing. It's so expensive helping them forward into independence. Am constantly way overdrawn and trying to balance quality of life with my finances!
We are very very fortunate Mary. Thank you for prompting me to think about neglected relationships. Will touch base with a few people who are dear to me before we leave.
Hugs to all. LP xxx

Mary Wednesday Wed, Jul 20th 2016 @ 12:32pm

Ah LillyPet, Sometimes we just need to touch base. And sometimes we need to spend a lot of time. Tom said to me the other day; "Love is infinite, but time isn't" So true. We need to spend it wisely.

Lou Wed, Jul 20th 2016 @ 12:38pm

I do enjoy your jokes Hopeful One. Thank you :)

Hopeful One Thu, Jul 21st 2016 @ 6:00am

Hi Lou- charmed and delighted.

Lexi Wed, Jul 20th 2016 @ 1:42pm

Hi Mary. Lovely blog. I suspect your family will come out of this all the wiser and better communicators. And props to you for listening to your youngest - they often feel - and rightly so - that they are overlooked and under heard (if that is a word).

The Gardener Wed, Jul 20th 2016 @ 1:48pm

Hopeful one and Mary - by accident I have a toilet seat which descends slowly by remote control - did not suss out French explanation - safety, so a kid does not bang it down on its head? What next, we ask ourselves? Belinda - alone, sad at lack of communication or begging your kids to talk to you? I have five, only contact with two. No 3 tells me what I am doing wrong from a safe academic distance (he's doing a doctorate). No 4 could not bother to see me when in was in UK (she lives 3 miles from where I was staying). No 5 has been estranged for 5 years - mind you, her loyalty has always been suspect, to anybody. I have always been known as a 'coper' do those children feel I need no help? When No 3 was 21, he was in France, coming back, with his girl-friend to celebrate on the day. Due to cancelled boats he did not get to our house till 11 p.m. Girl friend did not speak a word of English. Our drug addict d-in-law was in the 'as a newt' state, my Ma was disapproving of anything and everything, particularly the French girl. The dinner went very well - got to cake about 4 a.m. Suddenly I'd had it. Turned to No 2 son - you'll have to deal with cake and drinking health - I can't cope. His face was a picture - almost a wail 'I've never seen you when you can't cope'. So, Mary, best of luck with toilet seats and communications - and if you find a formula, please pass it on.

Mary Wednesday Wed, Jul 20th 2016 @ 2:30pm

I always enjoy your stories - although, enjoy is possibly the wrong word. This one - I respect you so much for having lived through it and devoutly hope I will never have to live through anything similar. You have lived (are living)an interesting life. I wonder if that is like the Chinese Curse...

Tutti Frutti Wed, Jul 20th 2016 @ 5:25pm

Hi Mary
An interesting blog which made me think. Also hi to Hopeful One I enjoyed both the Billy Joel and the joke.

Sorry to hijack today's thread to flag this but Maria and RATG I am about to put responses to you on yesterday's blog.
Love to all TF x

Hopeful One Thu, Jul 21st 2016 @ 6:05am

Hi TF- Thanks .Billy Joel sounds even better if you listen to it on You tube as the whole song is so full of meaning as are most of his other lyrics- e g ' Uptown Girl', 'She is a women to me' to name a couple.

Rachel Wed, Jul 20th 2016 @ 6:57pm

Really nice description of Family life Mary:-) sadly I don't have a family have been trying for years so I'll never know what its like to have kids which is painful all my friends have children

the room above the garage Wed, Jul 20th 2016 @ 11:34pm

Hello Rachel, I have a good friend in a similar sadness. Watching colleagues and friends go through pregnancies, as well as watching due dates go by (she had a couple of miscarriages) have been situations almost unbearable for her. Sometimes even 'Back to School' posters have gnawed at her. Do you feel supported enough?

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