Neither of them hesitate to
After all, if it wasn't for our marriage splitting up because I'm a lesbian, The Boy and his dad would have lived in the same house while he grew up. Surely that would have promoted a closer personal relationship and better on-going communication between them. Every family that remains together in a traditional familial unit produces wonderfully adjusted children and parents who all communicate honestly and openly, never a cross word or a hurt feeling between them.
That is the way it works, isn't it?
Yeah well. That's not really the way it works but I still feel responsible for their communication difficulties. Guilt and I go way back, oh yes yes we do.
Thankfully there's Wendy to chastise me for giving any real life to that premise. She reminds me how hard we worked to ensure The Boy and his father maintained close contact. It wasn't just us working hard. The entire family on both sides pitched in. Here is where I again give thanks for my family, immediate and extended. Our lives would be so much different without having had their support.
What's interesting now is to see how alike the two of them are, father and son. I think it may actually complicate communication because they respond the same way to injury, perceived or actual. They are both sensitive caring individuals yet oh so male.
I like watching them together. The Boy towers over his dad, having gotten his height from my side of the family. He has my eyes, but his broad shoulders and wide feet reflect his father. The blonde in his hair is mine, but it grows on his chest in the same pattern as his dad's does. They look like bookends sitting next to one another playing guitar, the same set to their jaw and tilt of their head. Their gestures, speech patterns, sense of humor; there is just no mistaking the similarities. Oh and their handwriting! Their illegible scribbles are interchangeable. Genes are powerfully persuasive.
They so want to relate to each other better. I hear the frustration in both their voices. So I listen. And gently prod. I remind his dad to think back to when we were nineteen and of how different, how much more together, our boy is from who we were at that age. We talk about his own father and how the two of them related back then.
I advise The Boy to be honest, to share his feelings, that his dad will listen and understand. Then I cross my fingers, despite knowing that yes, his father will understand. A little insurance never hurts!
I feel like a therapist, while wishing I had one myself. But still. I'll be there for either of them if they need me and be grateful for the chance to be there at all. Some things are just worth the effort.