As I age, I notice that I either spend obsessive time in front of the mirror grieving over the changes I see, or racing past them in my attempt to hide from the jiggles and rolls that I can’t possibly accept. It doesn’t take me long to widen that into my psyche, noting my personality being the type that tends to navel gaze and analyze to a point close to narcissism (hence, the blog!) and others, I’ll hide my eyes in denial of the shadowy characteristics I can’t possibly accept within. Isn’t the Universe grand for bringing your self smack dab in a mirror image of yourself while in angst over the behaviors of others?
My husband and I just took a “romantic” trip away together over Valentine’s Day weekend, and ended up with the stomach flu. What was intended to be a sensual time away with loving moments in bed, ended us in sharing the bed, yes…but running back and forth to the toilet, hoping the need didn’t arise at the same time between us!
Though being sick in luxurious surroundings of a Ritz Carlton on the cliffed coastline of California is a first-class substitute, although it’s toilet paper pricey, it’s nothing like the comforts of home. I just wanted to get home, hopefully without the need to race and wait within the plane’s washroom line, but just get me home. Home to my comfy bed, to my puppies, even to my aloof teenage daughter, feeling a sense of missing her like I don’t normally in our trips away. In retrospect, I can see that it’s wrapped up in that feeling of “needing your mommy” when you feel so poorly, and God bless my daughter, she had no idea the shoes she had to fill upon our return.
Walking into the house, she was engaged in a television show, so her back was facing me. I wrapped my arms around the back of her chair, giving her a warm hug hello telling her how much I missed her.
“Fine. I missed you too, now please go away. I don’t want to get sick.”
“My head is turned away from you,” I respond, holding on a bit longer than I know she’s comfortable.
“OK! Please, go away!” Not once did she turn around from her show to ask how we were. Acknowledge our return. Or even in her self-centered teenage mode, turn to tell us about what had happened in her week away from us. Nothing.
I was so hurt. Angry, frustrated with her damning teenage self, and oh so hurt. I needed her in that moment and she failed to the task. I have enough understanding that I could justify it away by acknowledging that this might be lodged in her own anger at us for abandoning her once again to travel when we’d so recently been gone. Or that it might have had nothing at all to do with us; that she’d had a horrible day, or that she is still dealing with the recent on again/off again break-up with a boyfriend. But I was still sooo terribly hurt.
I connected it to feelings as a child towards my mother in what I felt to be a lack of true appreciation/acknowledgement in me. I was the paramount good girl and yet it never seemed to be good enough for her. I was always criticized in one way or another; she never gave me the response I needed that I felt to be genuine and true and loving. And here, in my agonizing daughter, I find as a mother I jump through hoops for her. Bend over backwards to be the understanding and loving mother my own was not, and she doesn’t appreciate it. She doesn’t SEE me. I would LOVE me as a mom. I am not reactionary, judgemental, controlling.
And BOOM…..it occurred to me how reactionary, judgemental and controlling I was being with this personality that I just couldn’t accept. Here, in my jumping through hoops, I was trying to make her into the daughter I wanted and needed. My mother too, doing all I could to control her into the mother I needed. And not accepting of who she was – maybe not permanently, but who she was in the moment. Ugh.
Not a pretty sight, but OH so enlightening. Perhaps my daughter doesn’t feel accepted for who she is today, that I’m doing EXACTLY as my mother did in ways that are so tightly covered in my psyche I’m not even aware until pushed to my brink.
It’s in those times, well in retrospect anyway <shy grin> that we can be thankful for the lessons they bring. And thankful that Shekinah, my God within, keeps me aware so that I can be awakened once again. Dammit. Hello mirror.