Me: My grandma, my mom and I, we are a tight-knit, spend-lots-of time together, huggy kind of clan. We enjoy meals and movies, plays and picnics, phone calls, shopping, cooking and doing most anything together. We are together in groups of two or three on a weekly basis. We genuinely like to be around one another.
As much as we love each other and as much time as we do spend together, we still manage to overstep boundaries and annoy each other. There have been raised voices and tears. We are human beings navigating relationships to other human beings. So what do we do when we disagree?
Grandma: It’s true. We do have our moments, but we respect each other enough not to be nasty or purposefully hurtful. We usually find a way to say what we need to say. We can be honest with each other and not do a lot of damage.
Mom: I’m a traditional, textbook middle child. I try to keep everyone happy, so in my mind, I try to avoid confrontation. There are always going to be disagreements. A mother-daughter bond is special—sometimes strong and sometimes fragile.
Me: We hug when we meet and say goodbye, even if we are upset. No matter what, I have never doubted the love and friendship I have with Mom and Grandma.
Grandma: We are not afraid to say, “I’m sorry,” or, “I love you.” I don’t agree with all the decisions my children make, but they are their own person too. You can’t go through life always agreeing. That would be lying.
Mom: I think all three of us hold too much in, and sometimes we let it boil over. It’s better to get it off your chest than have something fester. I have seen too many instances of anger and resentment tear families apart—so much time wasted, and for what? You can’t go back and recapture those lost moments or weeks or worse yet, years. We are forgiving.
Me: My family is too precious to me. It eats me up being angry and frustrated.
Grandma: The truth has to be spoken once in a while. It’s good to have a heart-to-heart now and then, especially when something has been wearing on you for a long time. It’s not to say we haven’t had an argument or two, but not frequently.
Mom: Yes, there have been a few slammed phones, a couple of emails that sort of “yelled” and now there is texting, but the good thing about that, it doesn’t go on and on.
Me: Yes, short and to the point. But we all have to work on listening to the other. Anger can get in the way, and then no one wins.
Mom: We let each other know how important they are to us. It sets a good example for our children and grandchildren.
Me: Fortunately, the laughs and getting along far outweigh the disagreements. We don’t take our friendship for granted. It’s a very precious thing.