“Friendship is always a sweet responsibility, never an opportunity.” – Khalil Gibran
I am the first one to rise in the house. It’s 7:21 am on a Saturday morning. I lay there with my eyes closed recalling dreams that may lead to an answer or a glimpse of what I believe the universe is trying to tell me. My mornings always unfold like this, the only one up, recalling dreams, drinking tea, and listening to something light. This morning it’s Maya Angelou: Love Liberates.
Teacup in hand, listening to Maya Angelou offer an inspiring messages about liberation. I thought, what does it mean when the people you love don’t check in?
During her youtube video she mentioned that if someone thinks about you and think “Oh Lord here she comes,” then you’re doing something wrong – I asked myself a different question, if no one notices that you have moved away or gone missing, what does that mean?
I think it says a lot when someone doesn’t come calling or shoot you a text (no matter how impersonal), visit, ask about you, etc. There are people I love that I don’t always keep in contact with but I make it a point not to let too much time get by before I reach out.
To answer the question that I asked myself, It means that you are not my priority. For me, this is not good enough.
I work Monday – Friday and like most, parents, I’m not home to receive my girls when they return from school. Sometimes I don’t know that they have made it home until I get home, hours later. I work an hour or more away from home depending on the traffic, and have been doing so for a year now. When I first started I thought to myself, what if one of the girls doesn’t make it home at the usual time, will they notice? Will they be missed? Or will I arrive home only to realize one of my girls haven’t made it home? This thought got on my nerves you can imagine even if you’re not a parent; To know that your children aren’t looking out for each other.
This scenario played out recently. While at work I received a phone call from my Mom letting me know that my youngest had missed the school bus. I scrambled looking for someone to go pick her up. None of the other girls knew that their little sister had missed the bus and I thought that this would be a great time to teach them that lesson. So as the time ticked, things got a bit crazy because my brother-in-law had arrived at the school but my daughter went missing. It wasn’t until much later that I was able to track her down and blast her for leaving school. She eventually met up with her Uncle but it was long after the time she would normally be home. So once it was clear that she was in the car, I called home. I heard all kinds of excuses but there was one that drove me nuts, “I thought you knew.” I blasted them for assuming that the other person knew.
To lay it on thick I said, “If I would have come home only to learn that their sister never made it home, I would have never forgiven them.” I know it sounds harsh but I need them to “get it.” We need to look out for each other, no matter what. It’s everybody’s responsibility when someone goes missing. Even with my oldest being 18, I feel that we need to be so connected that, the sun shouldn’t go down on any given day without a call, a text, an email, something, just to say , “What’s up?”
So when I made it home that evening I continued this discussion, one-on-one, in the face, letting them both know my disappointment. Again, what does it mean when the people you love and we’ll assume they love you too, don’t check in?
Another scenario. I have a cousin who is incarcerated. For all the years he has been incarcerated, I could count on one hand the family members who have taken a day, yes, one day out of their busy schedules to go visit. It’s been at least 18 years. What does that translate to you?
If the statement is true that people make time for what’s important to them. Does that mean that they aren’t important? Or worth the time?
Do we make excuses for not checking in? Do we make excuses for other people who don’t check in?