Saturday, May 02, 2009

Momming it up

Last night my daughter took me out to dinner at the restaurant where she works. She introduced me to her friends and co-workers without me having to prompt or jump in. That does a mother's heart good. We'll just ignore the hour long conversation we had about college after we left the restaurant. At least for now. My teenage daughter chose to spend time with me on a weekend night in public. That counts as a minor victory.

C. and I were always close, at times so close that R, husband and father, occasionally felt shut out. This last year, that changed. The distance grew between us, and in the shock of a sudden loss, we stumbled around and frequently hurt each other. In many ways, we're learning to reconnect again. It's not easy. Sometimes she frustrates me terribly, and do I ever know that is mutual.

Here's the thing though. I've found I can not like a direction my child is taking, but be very proud of her for the way she's going about something. I can see mistakes she's making and try to guide her away from the error, but then I see how much she's learned by making the mistakes. I don't know if she would have learned so much without having made some of the whoppers she has made. (We don't lead a charming Christmas letter kind of life, but it's a beautiful one anyway.)

One huge lesson we both have learned has been one of the most painful of my life. Neither one of us told R. we loved him the day he died. I think I'll always regret that, and I've noticed that neither one of us will let the other leave or end a telephone conversation without saying, "I love you" now. Even if we were fighting just moments before. Even if the conversation was ending because the fight would have only gotten worse if we continued. That didn't happen immediately. It took some time, and it really didn't happen intentionally. It wasn't until after it had almost become routine that I realized what we had done.

I'm glad it happened. Tonight when she was leaving, it was a stop and go effort with something forgotten here inside the house. Then I had to move the car, then something else got in the way, and with every interruption, there it was. A big fat I love you. We were starting to sound like a comedy routine that a Monty Python wannabe would have written. No matter how angry, how frustrated, how irritable, cantankerous, stupid or stubborn we might be, that I love you is there. It may be how we end things, but I also feel that it's a beginning.


Blogger Nelle said...

Having an only child is difficult because that child knows that they are all you have to mother. I found as my son matured, our closeness waxed and waned but now we are both very comfortable in our relationship. At times the role of caretaker shifts back and forth. It is hard to know just how much parenting a young adult still needs. The "I love you" ending is wonderful. Sometimes I just send a card or note to say just that and I know it makes his day. Glad things are so good between you.

May 03, 2009 4:22 AM  
Blogger Indigo said...

Your relationship is alot like my daughters and mine. Skye actually went to college for a year before quitting. I was furious...she had a free ride and the college of her choice...

In the end I'm still proud of her, the choice wasn't mine to make. She's doing wonderful at her job, going back to school online. I'm amazed at times with all she has on her plate she still wants to spend time with me. (Hugs)Indigo

May 03, 2009 11:10 AM  
Blogger Rebecca Anne said...

I'm glad you got to have an evening in public together. I hope the choices she makes will be ones that you can smile at and even choke down any disappointments. I can only imagine what they will feel like someday if one of my daughters tries to go a direction I'm against or unsure.
Saying I love you, everyday is something my daughters and I have always done. Hopefully that never changes

May 03, 2009 3:15 PM  
Blogger Lisa :-] said...

I'm glad to hear that you and C have begun to mend your relationship. You went through such hard times just after R heart was heavy for you. And yet, I knew (because it had happened to me) that grief often causes us to slap away the hands of those closest to us...or worse.

May 03, 2009 10:48 PM  
Blogger Tressa Bailey said...

I can relate so often to your stories about your life, this was one of them. When my Celia was missing in Katrina, our relationship was tempestuous at best....She the strong willed child and me the frustrated Momma....Ah how times have changed....We've even screamed at each other I love you BUT dammit you piss me off! LOL! It matters not the circumstances in which you reaffirm your love of each other...only that you do.

May 04, 2009 6:04 PM  
Anonymous Joe said...

It's great that you're mending your relationship with your daughter. Reconciling avoids bitterness and all that. And you two really love one another. It would be a pity if something broke that bond.

May 06, 2009 1:02 AM  
Blogger alphawoman said...

C. has always been a hand full since reading this! Joe and I say "I love you, goodbye" as a reflex anymore on the phone since we have spent a good part of the past year on the phone. What started out as somewhat a joke now means everything. Simple, I love you goodbye!

May 06, 2009 10:25 AM  

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