I originally planned to label this post
Things I wish my mother taught me
But I'm 40,
and to (continue) to blame my mother for failings in my own life is just plain crazy!
And so, two key things that I need to learn
How to express my sympathies
I received a phone call from my Dad the other night, and he told me that my Uncle is in another battle with his prostate. Unfortunately Uncle has had so many operations that, due to scar tissue, they are unable to operate again. This time he is on injectables, and I think Dad said that the Dr's basically asked him how long he would like to live (or something). I may have misheard that part, or misinterpreted. But it is not sounding good, at all.
I haven't seen my Aunt and Uncle for a long, long time. Too long! More than 5 years, but less than 10 (I hope!) Growing up we were an extremely close family, my Aunt and Uncle were the parents of our only two cousins, and we lived in the same region, so get togethers were a regular occurrence.
Of the four cousins, I was the youngest, then my sister, my boy cousin, and my girl cousin was the oldest. Aside from our Grandparents, I really didn't share anything in common with my cousins beyond kids stuff, and the differences are more defined now we are adults. I do send annual Christmas Cards to them all, and that is the extent of our 'regular' contact.
That said, I do have such fantastic memories of our childhood get-togethers, and my Aunt and Uncle are the nicest, kindest people you could hope to meet. So my dilemma is/was, what is the appropriate response to hearing such news, especially when I really don't know the exact details?
My mother would 'ignore it'.
Her reasoning is that contacting them would be like
'I felt I had to contact you because you are going to die soon'
and would be more upsetting than helping.
I, however, have taken the bold step for me, and sent them a card with a letter. I said that Dad had rung and told me that Uncle was in another battle, and I just wanted to let them know that they were in my thoughts and prayers. I added that 'Don't let Mum and Dad know I pray, they will disown me :)', just for a wee bit of humour.
And I said that 'if there was anything we could, do to not hesitate to let us know'.
I hope that this was appropriate. I really don't know! I guess I am wracked with guilt in that I have not seen them for so long, but I guess that works two ways.
I only hope that it is just my mother that would interpret it in a negative light.
Being more hospitable
As can be read above, I am not great at visiting people.
I am also not great at inviting people to visit us.
The greatest instigator of this is fear.
Well I hope that it is that, rather than the awful alternative being that I am selfish and self centered.
Or it could just be that 'I like my own company best', but that really is not a way to live a fulfilled life, is it? And if I admit the truth to myself, when I do actually get out and be social I do have a really good time. I think I just get too comfortable lounging around in front of the TV and can't be bothered making the effort to go out and be social. Lets face it, I have lived in South Taranaki for 4 years, and I have no friends here. Not because no one asked me to be included, but because I chose to not make an effort to join in.
I guess I think it is just 'easier' to stay at home with TJL than go out and risk people not asking me out again because I am boring. I never actually stopped to think that perhaps I am boring because of the fact that I don't go out!
And this is why I blog, because it helps me recognise and work on all of my flaws!
Anyway, back to the fear theory
Fear of imposing
I don't like to drop by unannounced as I don't like it when people do that to me. Simple reason being that my house is usually 'untidy', my bathroom is 'unclean', and I always have plans in my head of what I will do that day, and now their visit is interrupting them (when truth be told my plans are very rarely the kind that can't be interrupted!).
Way around it.
Let them know I/We are going to be in the area ahead of time so they can be prepared for us coming over, if they are ok with it.
Get a schedule for tidying and cleaning my house, and stick to it, and to realise people are more important than any 'plan' I might have (not that anyone visits any more, I don't exactly keep my feelings well hidden - work in progress, MJ, work in progress! Step 1 - identify the problem!)
Fear of failure
If we invite people over for dinner, and my dinner sucks, what then? I will be embarrassed and feel like a total failure, and my confidence will take a knock, and it's pretty low at the best of times.
People mightn't want to come over for dinner - fear of rejection!
Way around it.
Invite them out to dinner or lunch, at a restaurant or cafe, no stress about my cooking (although I can worry that the place I invite them to doesn't do good food and then I feel stink for recommending it - low confidence anyone!)
Or I can just get over myself. So what if the food stinks, if it is totally inedible we can always get takeaways. I just need to stop being so sensitive.
And so what if they say no! Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
And so I am going to set myself two goals.
1. Visit M, or invite her and S out to lunch, next week, when I go into H-town to do a grocery shop
2. Text T and see if she, and maybe S and L, want to go to a movie the following week (depending on what is on).
I can do it!