Sunday, July 25, 2010

Mothers and Daughters (and oil and water, and Israel and Palestine, and...)

One day while driving home from work, I called my friend Kyle in tears.

"My daughter hates me."

"If it makes you feel any better," she said, "I have two daughters. Double the hate. In fact, I made [honey] kosher chicken noodle soup last weekend and she gave me shit about it."


"We're Jewish, but [honey] is orthodox. She only eats kosher. And she has to have her kosher food made in separate pots and pans and served on separate dinnerware. I make [honey] kosher chicken noodle soup every Friday night to make sure she'll have something kosher to eat for the weekend."

"Wow. That's really nice of you."

"Except for the fact that I was chopping the carrots and celery with my bare hands, which made [honey] wretch and gag and proclaim me disgusting."

"You asshole!"

"I know! I feel horrible!"

A couple of days later, I was telling my boyfriend about an incident with my daughter. "You know," I said, "this sounds like hyperbole, but going through cancer was easier than living with a teenage girl who absolutely hates me. No matter what I do, it's wrong. And not only is it wrong, I am wrong. Everything about me is disgusting, including my voice, my appearance, my beliefs, my approach to life, my relationships, my job, everthing. When I was in treatment, I may have been scared to death and tired, but my own sense of self-worth actually increased."

"When you had cancer, you probably thought, there's an end to this," he said. "With daughters, it can feel interminable. You lose them for about four years, and it's an agonizing four years."

I don't know when this tumultous mother/daughter relationship will resolve itself, and sometimes in the moment it feels impossible to repair. But the one thing I do know is that all I have is this day, this moment in time when I have the absolute luxury and honor of angsting about my relationship with my daughter instead of worrying about my post-op drain. Or my sore post-chemo arm. Or my post-radiation narcolepsy. But this morning as I sit at my kitchen table wearing embarrassingly old pajamas with unhighlighted hair and unmanicured nails, drinking coffee out of the mug my daughter gave me "just because" when she was nine, I am beyond grateful.

ps: feet belong to another, hipper, mom and her daughter


Anonymous said...

Ok. The whole child too big for her britches but can't even find her butt yet to climb into bigger ones thing make you quit writing?
Ya know. Someday.......a long long time from now, there's a chance she could be a grown woman who has seen enough of the rough side of life.....she may have her head down on some kitchen counter looking sideways at a dirty coffee cup that she hasn't had the energy to wash for more than a week. AND just one of the many thoughts milling through her mush mind may be "I can't believe I said and did those things to her when she had gone through so much. I can't believe I was so self centered that I said mean things to a woman who had tried so hard just to survive in order to raise me."
Of course, there is also the chance nothing hard besides her mother's life will ever touch her. She could go sailing through, no rough waters, good health, husband steady, kids good looking smart etc etc the whole nine yards etc. She may never reflect on her behavior for the rest of her life.
That's what's good about recovery from co-dependent behavior. We get to draw a circle around our feet and know that if we get to control anything it's in that circle. Our emotions are ours. And trust me....I have been having months of the hardest nastiest emotional tests I have ever had in my life (failing some miserably).
Seeing that the "abuse field" was a former life for me I will pass this on. Not your family/childs story but it makes a point. The abused child will constantly try to win the affection of the parent that abuses her. She will continually be mean and abuse the parent that loves her and is kind to her (if there is one) because, she trusts the loving parent to not walk away leave or abandon her for being bad. She feels safe enough to vent on the safe parent.
AND same sex children learn who they want to be by choosing anything that you are not because they have already experienced your choices by living with you. So what's left but the opposite? I always thought there should be a large island to send teens away to for the duration. But then the book Lord of the Flies comes to mind and that's not good :)
What I want to know that is waaaaaayyyy more important than the whole daughter she'll get over it
Wait I have to check your post and then finish this lengthy comment.

Anonymous said...

The more important thing :)
Where did you find a good looking guy who not only knew and used the word "interminable" but used it when giving you support with some very thoughtful insights?

lahdeedah said...

Hey Church,

I just came up for air. Your comments are full of love and wisdom. Let me know where you are so I can call/email.


lahdeedah said...

About the guy...

I totally lucked out :)

If you get the chance, shoot me an email or call. I am working on a project this whole weekend and will be tethered to my kitchen table until it's finished. I want to know how you've been/are. Sounds like you've had some big trials this past year :( You are one resilient lady.


dr.gregory b. harris said...

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