It's easy to use our judgments rather than our hearts to invalidate something that is in fact important to the other parent.
Both my sons father and my stepdaughters mother -I had incidents with both of them regarding "who does the child see that movie with?"
With my son, we were in Michigan at the time, we were all going to the movies. The year the movie "The Blindside" came out. I was pretty excited about it and so was my son because he was a football player at the time. However when he told his father - his father was upset. My son wouldn't go. he wouldn't go because his father literally said wait to see that with me. There was this entire mentality inspired by his father that he's the dad and football was what he had in common with his son therefore seeing that movie with me was somehow taking something away from his father.
This was surely disappointing, frustrating and something that brought me to that place his actions usually brought me to in my weak moments. "All those thoughts." You know them, you've probably had them.
Everything from: This kid reaches out to you in excitement and you stomp his excitement with your need to be "all that matters" are you kidding me?" Still an ass hole. Stuff like that.
Trust me. I had a moment. Or two. And a few thoughts about that never ending need to be "the only one who mattered" to me he was holding this kid hostage. Yet my son wanted to honor his father. That was what he wanted too. They had that "important and meaningful to us as father and son" thing.
Okay then. When I brought mindfulness into the equation I recognized although I really would not care if my son went to see a movie with his father to be the "first" to see that particular movie if it was their thing. It was their thing.
That experience set the stage for the next experience with my stepdaughters mom. I did not know her mother had bought her a book and wanted to be "the one" who took her to see the movie based on the book she bought her. I had already gotten the tickets and once again I found myself perplexed when I heard "I'm the one who bought her the book it should be me who takes her to see the movie" I had no awareness there was a moment between mother and daughter in a book store that led to connection and closeness and a desire to see the movie after reading the book. I just saw my stepdaughter with the book in her school bag and for all I knew it came from the school library. I ended up taking her to see that movie and it was something we were able to use to prevent further unintended upsets. And I was much kinder this time around because i began to see the meaning it has for each parent. I wouldn't just know that. You can't just say "you're a mother you should know this" because there are many things I do not care about and one of them is, who takes who to see what movie. My son and I did go see the Harry Potter movies which was something we read at night before bed but I didn't think that meant I owned that experience. I just thought we had that similar interest. Same thing with the twilight series.i just happened to pick up the first movie knowing he was going to be with me and I just happened to love the movie and that led me to the books and my mother, my son and myself all read the books.
We were excited about the movies coming out. If his father was interested in the series too, it would not have mattered to me if it was him or me or stepmom or a friend who he went to see it with because ultimately we would end up owning all of those movies anyway. Movies eventually do come out on video and now with things like Netflix and Hulu and things of that nature family night is a sure thing. Eventually.
Through my work with women in Stepfamilies I hear a ton of "you are a mother- you "should" know this is important to me." No one can know unless you take the time to let them know you. Unless you take the time to tell them. The unfortunate part is, it is usually after something happens when a mother (or father) realizes he/she wanted to be the one to do that. Wanted to be the first. From haircuts to movies to pedicures to buying the first bra. These things mean the world to some parents and aren't that important to others. No one just knows what a mother would want and we can't expect other adults to ask us every moment and have an entire family stop living, moving, being a family just because we have something in our head that we didn't take the time to share openly. People aren't mind readers and no, Dad may not remember the conversation from six years ago.
It's a part of the process. A part of the path. Self Love. Open heart. Reverent Communication.
This is important to me
Okay. If it's important to you.
A lot of love,