by Sam Baumgart
“I Love talking with my daughters. I got a call from my daughter on Friday evening, she knew I was home alone because my husband and other daughter were traveling for the weekend. She offered for me to come over and she would cook dinner for me. I went over to her home and we visited for approximately two hours. I enjoyed that most because she is a young college student and could of spent her time doing many other things, instead she thought enough about me to invite me over and prepare a meal for me (fish, rice, and salad).” (Informant 1- Home questionnaire)
The special bond between a mother and daughter is no phenomenon. According to the communication theory Genderlect of Deborah Tannen, “Women seek human connection, whereas men are concerned mainly with status.” Although she does say women communicate for intimacy and men more for independence, it does not mean that these are concrete reasons for their communication. When two women communicate with each other they create a stronger bond because they have a similar agenda, showing vulnerability, and demonstrating listening skills. When women communicate they use rapport talk, establishing connection with whomever they are speaking with.
Not every relationship is easy. Life happens.
“Facetime with my daughter and baby A. (Informant 11)”
Mediated interpersonal relationships between family can be very difficult. Having a far proximity and trying to strengthen or create a relationship can be tolling. Although with our advances with technology can make the bonding a bit easier.
One of our informants lives in a retirement community and says that her closest friends live in the building that she does. They have become a tight knit community complete with a working system of helping each other. Although she lives in this community and a less traditional sort of family, she also interacts and communicates often with her biological family.
“My sister called to see if I worried about her being in New Orleans during the tornadoes. Filled me in on her trip and the excitement. Apparently it missed New Orleans but it did hit close by.” (Informant 6)
“As we were raising money for our adoption, a random family from Dallas found our profile and donated a large sum of money to our cause. We have stayed in touch since and when we planned this trip to California we figured it would be a good time to stop through Dallas and meet these new friends. They are wonderful. As tired as we are, we get L. to bed and stay up chatting with them. It’s weird. It’s like we have been friends for a long time. Good people.” (Informant 5)
Relationships are all unique in their background, functionality, age, etc. It isn’t important how or where you met the people that you care for, but maintaining a relationship takes time and patience. What is important is having people in your life that care deeply about you, and that is worth all of the hoops that may have to be jumped.