Don’t forget to laugh…especially at yourself

Luke in the yard

Luke in the yard

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

One of my newest paintings for sale on MY ARTWORK page

One of my newest paintings for sale on MY ARTWORK page




18 thoughts on “Don’t forget to laugh…especially at yourself

  1. This is one of those posts that REALLY REALLY spoke to me and I’m sure that it will to others that read and respond here. Many have commented that you take our experiences and express them as your own – you are our “every woman” voice. Things that we have thought about ourselves or others – you take out of the closet and put them out there for all of us look at in the daylight and not hide from. Once exposed they can then be dealt with and not left to grow internally. Thank you again for giving us so many things to reflect upon.

  2. As I began reading about this conversation with your son, I can feel my inner struggle with my son who is now 42. He and wife are in the long process of moving from Lancaster PA back to OR where he grew up. After he moved to the east coast after college, I seemed to grow very far and apart from him inside; and it hurt/s. Here and now we are slowly and certainly talking…I feel timid and uneasy. So here, after reading your truth-telling account, I’m not laughing, yet, but I am smiling while realizing the possibilities awaiting my son/wife and our lives re-emerging. I’m quietly crying thru the smile.

    This post and one recently about you and your siblings together have awakened deep emotions for me. Thank you for these.

  3. I like you too!! You are fabulous! Give me a call sometime soon when you are babysitting – would love to stop by!


  4. Oh, Mary, so true. You must laugh at yourself and you reminded me too. I went through a similar period with my oldest son and finally it all sorted out. I have three sons and they always end their phone calls with I loveyou. The calls may not come as often as I’d like, but I remind myself they have families and lives of their own now.

    I went to a musical today one son was in and dreaded it as crowds and I do not mix. I have been a little immobile for months due to an icy fall so dreaded trying to maneuver my way. I saw this image of my lying on the floor and laughing at myself and said “To heck with it” I can do this. I did! I am home! I am proud of myself! And by gosh, I didn’t fall down.

    You never fail to make me think. Love you, Mary.

    Sandy M

  5. Dear Mary, your post today is so heartfelt and honest. It truly touched me deeply. Especially because I’ve been going through one of those periods when I doubt that anyone could like me because I’m having such a hard time liking myself. Thank you for your always poignant and timely words of wisdom.

  6. I have similar feelings with one of my daughters and often feel very judged when I am around her. I hope someday we will be able to have a conversation like you had with your son and I can laugh about it.

  7. Hi Mary, I really liked this one! I have felt the same way with my girls for periods of time. Maybe I’ll ask for an “I like you” text. It really would make my day!

  8. Dear Mary, having grown up sons is really interesting, frustrating, and fun. I have the distinct feeling that my 37 year old son also thinks I am crazy too! But great point by asking your son if he likes you! I think I will have to try that. I know that my son keeps asking me if I got a letter from the DMV about my driving. Yes they can be extremely funny too! Thanks, Joan

  9. Great post, Mary. My daughter is very affectionate to me. She doesn’t tell me so, but she calls to solicit my opinion, likes it when I visit (by myself or with her Dad), and wants me to be a part of her life.

    I’m puzzled where this came from. I was a good mother, but so much of my life seemed to be taken up with working and caring for her and her Dad. I sure wasn’t like the other mothers who seemed to take care of everything for their children.

    I’m happy and grateful for it though and am thoroughly enjoying having an adult child.


  10. Mary, if I ever loose my sense of humour, it’s game over. I live with a crazy retired airline pilot who buzzes the house at 500 ft. in a small plane. I’ve always ‘been there’ for my kids but last week my son who is in his late forties, said to me: I’ll be there for you, Mom. Now, last Sat. when things got stressful around the house with the pilot I needed to talk to someone, called my son, couldn’t reach him on his landline, his cell or via the internet. Where was he when I needed him….he wasn’t ‘there’…..We laughed…I recovered.
    SandyP in frosty Ontario, Canada

  11. Mary, I have been getting your blog on a regular basis, but Kim sent me the link to this one especially because she and I had just talked about this very thing this past week when we had a quick hour visit. I shared it with another friend of THREE boys and she really related to it as well. THANKS….

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