Remaining best friends
We have lived in our house for over 20 years. When we moved in my three sons were 15, 13, and 11. The neighbors across the street have a very large front yard. It did not take long before that yard was a football, basketball, or whatever else field for the Clinkscales boys. They would get a game going with each other, and soon friends would join in.
We have all grown older. The boys’ lives have taken them to different locations through different events of life, some good, and some not so good.
Maintaining their relationship with each other is very important to me. I know it is so easy to let events and changes in life work as “permission” to lose contact.
As a result, once a year my sons and I have a “boys’ trip,” without spouses or children. It is short, usually a long weekend, but it is a time for just us to be together.
I meet with families almost daily. Most of them are dealing with chronic illnesses or aging issues. One significant consideration is their support system and family dynamics. Both could be a real problem. The children may have drifted apart from each other as well as their parents, not only physically but emotionally, and have differing opinions about priorities for their parents.
This has been worsened by the pandemic. Families have curtailed or eliminated visits with each other. Family relationships may have lapsed or gone cold. I hear more and more, “I haven’t seen my brother or my sister since….” or “my parents,” or “my children.”
Life has a way of encouraging us to drift apart. Just as I have continued to work at practicing law to be a good lawyer, we have to “practice” to be good family members. That may mean overlooking differences, and searching for likenesses and love.
So, we do a boys’ trip every year. My hope is that long after I can’t do the boys’ trip, my sons will continue their relationships as best friends, despite their differences and life’s bumps along the way. I know they will have to work at being best friends, but it is worth the effort.
And by the way, if you come by our house while my sons are in town, there is likelihood you will find them in the neighbors’ yard playing football (with a new team member, Alex, my three year old grandson). It warms my heart to see that.
My hope for you is that you will work at staying best friends with your family. Those are irreplaceable relationships.
Randy Clinkscales is an elder law attorney in Hays, Kansas and is a 2006 founding member of the Life Care Planning Law Firms Association. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call toll free at (877) 325-8040 or visit www.elderlawkansas.com.