By: Abby Glaser
Encompass Community Advocate
As we continue to dive into our topic this month, "New," I would love to explore some ways that old relationships may have something new! I’ve had some experience with this recently regarding a Christmas gift I purchased for my Mom. If we’re talking about relationships, there are none “older” than the ones with our parents! I’m sure if asked, I may have said in the past that I know everything there is to know about my Mom. I’ve discovered recently how untrue that is! For Christmas this year I bought my mom a subscription to a platform that facilitates her sharing all kinds of memories from her life in one place. At the end of the year it puts all of those stories together into a bound book about her life, for us to share! You may remember Lavern talking about his book in a prior blog post, A Powerful Present of Presence.
At only a few weeks into the new year I have already learned so many new things from her answers! For example: my parents have a tradition where every year for each of my kids’ birthdays they pick them up and take them “grandma shopping” which is just dinner and picking out their own gift. I have five kids so this one on one time is so meaningful to them and to me! What I didn’t know was that my Mom’s grandma did that for her growing up! It had never occurred to me to ask where she got that idea! When I read her answer to that morning’s question about some of her favorite birthday memories I was shocked! I’m really excited to continue hearing her stories and learning new things about her life.
In relationships, especially long term ones, it can be easy to think there is nothing new to learn. Time breeds familiarity and sometimes that familiarity clouds how we see the people we are close to. Seeing these new stories about my Mom’s life has been a great reminder to always be asking questions and seeking to better understand those we love! Just reading stories about her childhood has already given me some deeper insight into who she is and how she became who she is! If I can keep learning new things about my oldest relationship, what else could I be missing in my other relationships? I really want to challenge myself this year to ask better questions and seek to understand my loved ones better! I want to remember to slow down and take the time to hear what people are saying beyond the surface. If you are looking for the same thing, technology has given us lots of cool ways to make this happen, from things like Storyworth to apps for couples that give a discussion question a day! May 2023 be the year of “New” relationships for you!
Lavern & Ronda Nissley are co-directors of Encompass. Married since 1978, both enjoy coffee, riding their tandem bicycle and working together to build strong relationships.