July is the deep dive into vacation time. This when you get to hang out with those intimate strangers you call family. Sure, you see them on a regular basis, but each of you is running off to your daily commitment, which is sandwiched between chores, eating, and sleeping. Or maybe you have established a weekly phone call or daily text protocol to keep in touch with those who are not nearby.
But now, here you are face to face with time on your hands and hopefully your digital brain out of reach. This is your chance to have an actual conversation and find out what’s going on with your loved ones. Granted, you may not really want to know with some of them, but don’t miss this opportunity just because Aunt Zelda still believes she is a Romanoff princess.
You start a conversation with open ended statements and questions like: “Tell me about… What do you think about…? How do you feel about…? What do you like about…?”
If you have managed to wrangle your kids away from their cohorts for a few days, you might find out that your daughter is really interested in the space program and is considering heading to Mars. Fortunately, she is 12 and she’s not leaving tomorrow, but now star gazing will have a whole new meaning.
You may get to talk with Dad while playing setback and find out that when he was a kid you could get polio swimming in the river and that’s why you and your sibs always got hosed down as soon as you hit the dock. It might also explain why he was fearing for your life when you had the sniffles that one summer a few days after a river plunge.
And remember to take time to ask their future dreams. Don’t let them off the hook with “I haven’t thought about it…” This is the time you get to think about it, before you’re back to your daily grind, before you forget that you can always dream because that’s the first step to having a plan. Maybe your dream is to just to connect a little tighter with the ones you love. Conversation can make it happen.
By Contributing Author, Jane Maulucci, The Reactive Voice