The Fine Art of Communication

I’ve been reading a bunch of stuff lately about various people’s life stories.  Yesterday I finished reading a novel by yet another of my incredibly gifted old classmates, Kim Green entitled, hallucination. Its touching story about a woman’s life journey flows effortlessly off the pages, or in my case my Kindle screen.

In some ways, I could relate to main character, Morgan, she too attended an upper east side private girls school.  Originally I thought that would be all I would share with this character when I was first introduced to her. But as got to know her more through this beautiful story I discovered we share a love of dancing, music, travel, children and writing.  I don’t share her struggles however I, too have gone through my own failed marriage and deal with my own dysfunctional family.

I understand what’s it like to begin a life with someone – a life with so much hope for the future, just to watch it disintegrate despite your best efforts.  One person can not save a marriage. A marriage is an intimate relationship which when one partner ceases to be involved in the caring, communicating and nurturing  – it falls apart.  This need for communicating is not reserved simply for preserving relationships of husbands and wives.

I have a brother who lives in New York City who I only see on the occasional holiday now.  We used to very close as kids but our busy life paths took us very far apart and unfortunately have kept us that way – at least for now.  We hardly talk on any sort of regular basis. Matter of fact, its been so long that to pick up the phone would be weird. Plus who ever knows when its a good time to talk. So a few months ago I decided to start sending the occasional text to see if I could break the ice and get the conversation flowing again. It’s kind of working I guess – there has been some exchange – a step in the right direction considering we didn’t have even that before. So I’ll take it as a positive.

The need for communicating between family members is as important in maintaining those relationships as it is with your friends.  I have a friend who if I want to hear from her I have to initiate the call. This has gone on for years and years because I let it. But she has shunned the electronic world and my best efforts to get together, so we don’t talk so much anymore unfortunately.  I don’t enjoy talking on the phone too much. I find it difficult to single-handedly multitask during a busy day.  If the conversation is long my elbow gets stiff and aches the rest of the day. I still ache from my 45 minutes phone conversation I had with my sister six hours ago! If its not face-to face, my main form of communicating with people is via text or chat behind one of our word or dice games we play on our phones.

Some people were hesitant to get on board with email and now they hate texting or don’t know how to do it,  or they don’t do social networking.  To each their own but I couldn’t do it. My son is in college and he calls me weekly. His phone conversation skills are improving.  We text each other intermittently and we also follow each other on Facebook and Instagram.  I am part of his conversation with the “social world”.

I find having an ongoing dialogue important particularly with my children. This can get difficult as grow up, go to college and eventually leave home and start their own family. If this is their way of communicating, I must join in. Recently as we were preparing for Hurricane Sandy,  I started a family group text which included my parents, siblings and a sister-in-law to make it easier to stay in touch in case anyone lost phones and power. Everyone in the family who lives Connecticut lost power whereas the New York contingency didn’t.  My parents liked the intermittent exchanges of stray comments and photos they asked us to keep the conversation going after the power outages were over. They said they left more a part of our daily lives and less isolated. As a parent of a child who lives away at college I have a better understanding of this now.

In Kim’s book, Morgan’s father repeatedly pleads for his daughter’s attention demanding more frequent phone calls as her life path takes her across the country away from him and the home she grew up in.  That’s our role in life as parents, to raise our children so they an stand on their own two feet and start their own families. It’s just as parents we’d like to hear from our all too busy children from time to time. So if that’s a quick text, then so be it. The conversation still continues at least, even if in short snippets.

“A little consideration, a little thought for others, makes all the difference.” Winnie the Pooh

Peace – Xine S.

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