Twice a day — once in the morning and once again at bed time — I try to take a second to be consciously grateful for everything in my life. Think of it as my way of telling the universe ,”Thanks.” Sometimes it’s for something significant like a family member’s improved health. Other times it can be as simple as getting a few texts from my friend, Teresa.
But no matter what else may be on my gratitude agenda, twice a day, every day, I say thank you for my kids. Partly I do it because I’m really, really grateful for them in my life. And partly I do it to remind myself of the fact.
Recently, I learned about a new book that is out: Meeting Robyn, by Gloria Parker. Although Ms. Parker is an accomplished playwright and screenwriter, this is her first book. It’s also a different look at parent-child relationships.
Parker’s daughter, Robyn, was born her son, Robert. The book is a first-person examination of their shared journey from mother and son to mother and daughter. Learning about this book so close to Thanksgiving made me wonder how gratitude fits into this whole experience for the women.
I had a chance to ask them both about their feelings.
Gloria’s reasoning for writing such a personal and revealing book actually touched a nerve in me — in a positive way. She told me, “I imagined that [Robyn] would read it and that it might dissolve some of the pain of the years because she would know someone else was watching, someone else was there beside her and someone, though I didn’t come by it easily, supported her. It was my way of admitting the mistakes I made and telling her the fears I still had.”
And then there were Robyn’s feelings of betrayal and hurt. Her mother’s struggle to accept her as a daughter obviously weighed heavily on her, and the once-close relationship became strained. But Gloria had raised a strong daughter. Robyn began a process of educating her mom, and not only restored their relationship, but gained her mom’s respect. Which is why I wasn’t surprised by their answers to my last question: What, if anything, are you most grateful for from this experience?
For Gloria it was the mere fact they had made it through it together.
And for Robyn? “My mom’s continued love and support. She makes a huge difference in my ability to become the person I am. I have always felt fortunate to have such an amazing mom and that only gets stronger with time.”
As I see it, Gloria and Robyn’s story is just another reason for me to continue to express my gratitude for the relationship I have with my boys, and being in each other’s lives. We don’t know what the future holds. Maybe we’ll become distant, maybe one or all of us will feel betrayed.
But then again, maybe — just maybe — taking a moment to acknowledge to the universe that I am grateful for my sons from the top of my spiky Greek hair to the bottoms of my hairy Greek toes, I’ll always find a way for us to persevere like Gloria and Robyn.
The kids aren’t the only reason I’m grateful, of course. I’m thankful for parents, siblings, uncles, aunts, cousins and friends — all of whom love me unconditionally. And of course, I’m most thankful for Kelly.
If you’d like to read Meeting Robyn, I’m told it’s available online and at major bookstores.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!