Earlier this year I flew to New Zealand for my first ever visit there. (I had an amazing time!) A friend drove me to the airport in London as I’d sprained my ankle very badly and was unable to drive my manual gear car. Another friend collected me at Auckland airport, so not being able to drive initially wasn’t a problem. I then hired an automatic car which was fine as I’d hurt my left ankle. I was able to drive all around the North Island.
When it was time for me to fly back to England, I realized that I needed to organize a lift home from London airport, and various friends offered to collect me, but due to flight changes none were then able to support me on the day. So, I asked my son. However, he had a big work day scheduled the following day after my flight arrived and so he responded, ‘I don’t feel to’. He wanted to be adequately rested for the big job the following day. Even when my flight got shifted to the morning, he felt unable to support me. It would have been a four-hour round trip for him.
I initially felt disappointment and also a sense of self-entitlement.
My mind went through, ‘after all I’ve done for you, including organising this amazing holiday....’. But I didn’t express that at the time as I realised I needed to consider my response. Later I reflected that I was pleased he hadn’t just automatically agreed to being a dutiful son, and I was even pleased that he didn’t feel obligated to drive me home, but felt into what was true for him. This also supported me in detaching from my sense of entitlement with my blood family. Just because we are blood related doesn’t mean we owe them any more than we would anyone else, or that they owe us. So, in hindsight this has been a huge gift for me.
Interestingly I now feel much closer to both my son and his wife. There are no apron strings of attachment. I appreciate the lesson I learned. Amazing how life gives us what we need to learn.
Post Script: My flight got changed yet again to an even earlier day that week but I realised I didn’t feel to ask my son to reconsider. I arranged a taxi home – sharing with friends. All flowed once I let go of trying to control the situation.
Sue Q., UK
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