Yesterday, at my sister-in-law’s going away dinner party, my mother-in-law turned to me and said, “You should consider migrating too. The crime here is so bad.”
Instead, I heard, “You should consider migrating too. The crime here is so bad. Let me justify why my daughter is leaving.”
I heard but I did not listen.
As far as long I have known my parents-in-laws, they have justified why their children do what they do. It irked me that the parents tolerated and justified their children’s pettiness and excuses. On the other hand, my parents corrected me and still do when I come up with excuses. I’m thirty-eight. And yes, my parents will tell me when they think I am wrong.
I just had enough of excuses.
I justified my rant.
It took me 24 hours to really process what my mother-in-law was trying to say.
Instead, what I should have heard was, ““You should consider migrating too. The crime here is so bad. My daughter is leaving and I am sad she is going. I am afraid because I am alone now. There are things happening around me that I never thought would happen in my lifetime. I am afraid. But never mind I am afraid. I love you both and want the best for you.”
But I was blind in the moment and allowed my past feelings and interpretations of the relationships in my in-laws household to prevent me from hearing what my mother-in-law was trying to say. I had failed to hear the grieving mother, one who was losing a daughter.
I know now I was wrong. It took me 24 hours to realize this. But, many times we interpret what people say to us in context of what has happened in the past without considering the present context.
I regret hurting her. She did not deserve it.
Understanding my mother-in-laws true intention helped change my attitude. I shifted a meeting I had to another day to ensure that I was at the airport with my husband to see my sister-in-law off. I am glad I did that. Her other brother was not there. I changed my reaction to my mother-in-law and helped support her after her daughter left. She was missing her. And galvanized myself into taking action for mother’s day. I need to invite my brother-in-law to dinner with his parents and mine. I may not always like his attitudes but his mother will want to see her son.
So, listen carefully to what your genuine loved ones tell you. Don’t always react. Process. And say as little as possible. Instead, try to get them to open up to you so that you both can understand each other better/each other’s motivations.
Truly listening is hard. Removing your feelings from a conversation is hard. But do it nevertheless, at least for your loved ones.