While waiting for my order one day at lunch, I noticed this lady looking at me. She then got up from her table and approached me stating my name. Who is she? It was like a slow motion movie, she introduces herself, and our “connection” and I reply “OH…yeah, wow!, um…” Back in the day we were part of a small club, young mothers with a lot of energy! I had left the group because my son (the excuse at the time) was having difficulty in school and I felt I needed to be home in the evenings more. Truth was my full time caretaking codependency energy was in full throttle and there was no time for them or myself. But it had been so long, I did not recognize her. Next rolls off her tongue the awkward questions…“How have you been?” – Fine! “What are you doing now?” – Easy to answer – tread cautiously….” How old are your sons now?” The youngest is ___, then right as she ends her next question, “… live nearby?” I interrupt with my questions to her: “how old are your kids?” (It’s getting easier to navigate those people who question everything– I mirror what seems important to them by using their topic of choice – an offensive deflection!
Now she’s off and running…. ”Well, my youngest is 19, first year at “name the college”, the eldest finished at “name the college” and is working at “name the management title” in “name the big city.” Her lips were moving with a whole bunch of information as I feigned interest. It’s not that I’m uninterested, it’s a defense mechanism. I don’t have elevator speech about my kids.
In recovery from the family disease, I have learned that my grown children’s business is not mine to share in detail! Good or bad! And it definitely is nothing to be ashamed of. This makes my responses to anyone’s questions, short and curt, but not rude. I can answer their direct question, “do they live nearby?” with a direct answer, “two of them are local.” Until addiction entered my world, I too would have bragged about my child’s success naively thinking I had orchestrated the whole thing. I know better today, I was never in charge or in control. Mostly, I’m reminded that someone’s good intentions or kind outreach does not always have an alternative motive. It’s what it is, nothing more and nothing personal.