It isn’t easy to have a family member absent a lot and when they call it is often easy to get into a conversation all about what isn’t working or annoying you the most (that can be a long list) and then before you know it the phone call is over and it hasn’t ended well. They are frustrated as they are hundreds of miles away and can do nothing about it and you are left feeling horrible about dumping on them when they are so far away and you aren’t going to be able to just chat the next day and talk about all the good things that are happening.
Many years ago, when my husband was in Bosnia, this happened to me and I had to wait a couple of weeks before I could say good things that were in our lives. I went over the kids crying all the time, being alone, pipes bursting, etc. and then he had to hang up. Now, my rule is that for every negative comment I make I have to say two positive things (I am practicing this in all areas of my life) when we are talking on the phone. I also now put a couple of funny photos by the phone, a ticket stub, some art work or a test from one of our kids or some other thing that will trigger my memory about all of the good things that are happening while they are away. Conversations are easier now and we both hang up feeling better about the absence rather than a lot worse.
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