A while back I had a serious discussion with one of my sons about our relationship. I’d like to say that I’ve always known that he loved me, but that wouldn’t be a true statement. There have been plenty of times when I doubted it and thought that probably both of my sons would be relieved to have me out of their lives. I don’t know if my mind took it to the extreme of thinking this meant they’d be relieved if I died, but that wouldn’t have been out of the range of thoughts I’d had. I didn’t doubt his love because of anything that he did or didn’t do to prove this, it was just my feeling. It came to a head one day and I said something like, “I know that you love me (which wasn’t quite the truth) but I don’t think that you like me.” Again, I could give no evidence for this but at least he listened. I also know that what I feel about myself, I project onto others. I know this in my head but at times I forget it when I feel insecure, especially around people who are very important to me.
My parents never talked to me this way. They never told me of their insecurities and short-comings. I certainly don’t blame them for this, hardly anyone of that generation did, but I’m so glad that I can. I’m so glad that my sons see me as a whole human being. I believe that they see me as a woman who has gifts to offer the world and one who also can be challenging at times. I truly wish that I wasn’t challenging.
So, back to the serious discussion; me telling him that I didn’t think he liked me and him rolling his eyes in exasperation and frustration (of course I didn’t see him do this, we were talking on the phone, but I am pretty sure he did). He finally said, “The truth is, I love you and I like you.” So I asked him if he would periodically text me saying that he liked me. By this time, we were laughing, but I was also serious. I just thought how much I’d love to get a message from him once in a while, telling me that he liked me. I didn’t want it to be an obligatory thing, like “You must call your mother every Sunday”. I didn’t want him to feel guilty or to do it out of a sense of obligation, but the idea (which seemed to come from out of the blue) felt like a fun one. An hour later I got a text from him saying, “I like you.” 15 minutes later, another one came through that said, “I still like you.” and I just started to laugh.
I love those, “I like you” texts. They are like a very private (not anymore) joke/communication between people who really do love each other and they help me to keep a sense of humor about my (at times) insecure self.
“A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs. It’s jolted by every pebble on the road.” Henry Ward Beecher