A Mother And Daughter Conversation

an uninvestigated story argues with reality

Yesterday I had a sort of embarrassing conversation.

If it was recorded, it would be really, really bad.

7:16 am.

Daughter: I’m sooooo tired.

Stays seated on couch.

Me: (typing on computer).

Daughter: I should make my lunch.

Stays seated on couch.

Me: You need to get there right at 7:30 to talk with your teacher about the missing assignment.

Daughter: I don’t really need to get there THAT early.

Me: But since I’m driving you we have to get going. I need to get back to work with a client at 8:30. If you’re not leaving early, you may as well go ahead and take the bus.

Major tone change in voice.

Daughter: You’ll have plenty of time, jeez, what’s the problem!! We’re going to get there on time, it only takes, like, 7 minutes to get to school!!

Also major tone in voice. As in louder.

Me: I don’t see you getting up to make your lunch, though, and we should leave in 2 minutes!!

Daughter: But what about Starbucks!?

Me: Seriously?

Daughter: YOU SAID you would TAKE me to STARBUCKS!!!!!

Me (on the inside): (You little demanding entitled butt head, there is no way we are going to Starbucks).

I drive past Starbucks.

There was a 7 minute discussion about how long Starbucks takes from order to waiting to receiving the food and drink, and me giving a speech on how ridiculous to go to Starbucks when you can make tea or coffee at home and put it in a to-do washable cup.

Which would have taken 4 minutes, according to daughter, which would be waaaaay too long. (Longer than Starbucks).

So I’m fuming at the ludicrous conversation and actually IN IT at the same time. And trying to prove that making breakfast at home is faster than going to Starbucks.

I say in a huff, “You know what? You’re right.”

Silence.

Yep. That mature.

I think very quietly all the way home, in the silent car, after daughter gets out and slams car door.

The discussion of minutes, Starbucks, breakfast, lunch, tiredness, assignments, any of that did not really matter.

There was something inside that just wanted to be RIGHT.

It’s like a hot fire ready to scream “You are defying me? The Great and Powerful Oz???!!”

But what’s underneath that urge to defend, fight, and go to war?

Ahhh…..there it is again.

I really want my daughter to be happy.

I want her to feel confident, joyful, energetic, excited.

THIS is not happy.

There’s an extra twist when it’s my child, because I think it means extra extra that if she’s unhappy, I’m a bad mother.

A reflection of MOI.

And actually, I want everyone to be happy. My parents, siblings, colleagues, neighbors, spouse, friends, clients.

The more happy people the better I feel. Right?

Everyone else get happy, now! (Little joke).

However, how incredible to question this deep-held belief that it’s better for me if other people are happy and content.

Especially when reality (the level of happiness) does NOT match what I think I want.

Who would I be without this belief that my daughter really should be in any other mood or attitude or feeling state or experience than she’s actually in?

Wow.

OK.

You mean, no one should feel happier than they do?

But.

I know it’s weird.

Just consider what it would be like to NOT believe that person you love so much should feel happy, when they don’t feel happy. Or that they should act nice, when they don’t.

Yes, imagine not insisting that one single person on this planet be happier than they are.

It sure frees up a lot of pushing.

In fact, it feels like the end of war.

Hmmm, feels a little funnier, happier, goofier, upside-down-ish.

“Both pleasure and pain are projections, and it takes a clear mind to understand that. After inquiry, the experience of pain changes. The joy that was always beneath the surface of pain is primary now, and the pain is underneath it. People who do The Work stop fearing pain. They relax into it. They watch it come and go, and they see that it always comes and goes at the perfect moment.” ~ Byron Katie

My daughter right now, as I type here 24 hours later on the next morning, is reading out loud to me about SAT tests.
Today, she’s not exactly thrilled to be taking a college test exam at 7:45 on a Saturday morning. (She’s got a slight reading disability and does quite badly on tests, but what do I know…..and I don’t care, to be honest, in a really good. light way.)
And she’s the sweetest person, ever.
So beautiful, so stunning. So brilliant.
What I notice is I adore her.
And she adores me.
We get some good sparky fire going between us. The way of it.

Let us make a special effort to stop communicating with each other, so we can have some conversation.” ~ Mark Twain

Much Love,

Grace

P.S. Eating Peace 3Day Retreat. October 9-11, 2015. For more information, click here.

3 Responses to A Mother And Daughter Conversation

  1. You are very welcome, Jodi! I love both Reviving Ophelia and Dan Siegel’s work. In many topics, it’s so powerful to explore in-depth the dynamics and study what’s happening (I’ve done so much of this myself around eating issues) but there is something quite profound about bringing the person inquiry into it all, as you just mentioned. The self-realization is so thrilling. Thanks so much for your share, lovely to read.–Much love, Grace

  2. I loved this post! I have 4 kiddos and the last one is 17 and I have had many ridiculous convos like the one you described, only to have them storm away and me left feeling frustrated.sad and guilty. Your insight around needing everyone to happy so that I can be happy also resonates.

    Mary Pipher (Reviving Ophelia) say’s that the adolescent brain is similar to a brain on LSD at times. Dan Seigel (Brain Storm) concurs. This helps me keep perspective and compassion in irrational interchanges with my teens. However recently I have rediscovered Byron Katie and the idea that my child shouldn’t be in any mood other than the mood they are in puts me in war with reality is stunning and life changing for this momma!

    Thank you for sharing so honestly and for your good work in this world.
    Warmly,
    Jodi

  3. Oh, Grace, this came just at the right time!
    I want my son to be happy (then I am allowed to be happy!)

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