Individual viewpoints seldom reveal the whole story.
Ask any mother.
I find it hilarious to try to sort out truth from fiction when talking with my grown kids, and sometimes don’t even try. This is a victory of sorts, because at this point I do not necessarily have to become deeply involved in kid drama, but can kind of wave my regards from the top of “not my problem anymore” mountain.
The most dramatic and heartfelt viewpoints come from my grown girls, who are 21 and 27.=
From one daughter I hear about new puppies, my six-year-old granddaughter and marital experiences. From the other (who is single) I hear about job adjustments, living arrangements, and multiple boyfriends. Since they have such different lifestyle experiences at this point in their lives, it can be quite daunting when they decide to spend time together.
Daughter No. 1, for instance, sometimes may come across as far superior in wisdom, life experience and insights into dating relationships, having lived an entire six years longer than Daughter No. 2. Besides, Daughter No. 1 is married and has a baby, and we all know this causes immediate maturity.
Daughter No. 2 is strong headed, opinionated and a classic Type A personality, and would rather slit her wrists than listen to prolonged instruction from Daughter No. 1. She tolerates it for a little while, but eventually her impatience runneth over.
Last week I received phone calls approximately 24 hours apart that might have come from different planets.
Daughter No. 1: “Mom? Are you busy?” My ears perk up because this always signals a longer than usual conversation which, as all parents know, translates to a need for money, or a need to vent or both. I put down my book, sigh and give her my complete attention.
She continues, “I just do not know what is up with (Daughter No. 2)! I have been visiting her for a week and she was so excited about me coming and NOW…” her voice trails off as she gathers a fresh head of steam, “…she is just so insensitive!”
I listen to her litany of grievances about her comments, reserving judgment, knowing these girls love each other, but a week in a confined space with a six-year-old, a small dog and limited finances would drive anybody crazy.
I murmur reassurances and hang up the phone, hoping they’d get past it.
The next morning, I see Daughter No. 2’s number appear on my cell phone. I quickly add up the number of hours since talking with Daughter No. 1, and conclude that enough time has elapsed to patch things up, but this probably has not happened or they would be out doing fun things together instead of calling me.
Daughter No. 2: “Mom? Are you busy?” I pour myself a cup of coffee and sit down. “Mom, I cannot believe how sensitive (Daughter No. 1) is being! I didn’t say anything awful, and she acts like I hit her or something! She is always like this. I am SICK of it. What is her deal anyway?”
I listen to her list of grievances, mutter words of appeasement and conciliatory wisdom, and hang up.
I make the sneaky and calculated decision to call them individually, pretending I do not know the other side of the story, and make generic love-and-unity statements wrapped in a Bible verse or two, then sweetly ask about other things to get their minds off wanting to rip each other’s throats out.
As a mature, wise and rather well-rounded survivor of relational conflicts, I feel I have the credentials to do things like this.
I think about how much time it takes to develop a simple little thing called “patience.” Years and years. Decades. At their ages, simply shutting their mouths would be a good start, before words tumble out that scorch their relationship.
I was creating a sage and lofty mom-document along these lines in preparation to private message them on Facebook when my cell jangled. My hands froze in mid-keystroke. It was Daughter No. 1.
Sometimes kid-drama has an unusual twist.
“Mom!” Different tone. One I didn’t quite recognize.
My mind raced back to the heated arguments and sensitivity issues. Hormones. The culprit behind the drama had been hormones!
I smiled, deleted the mom-document, and thanked God this proclamation had come from the married one and not the single one.
I laughed my congratulations into the phone.