Early Friday morning, there was a magical looking mist just above the surface of the Vermilion. My non-early morning nature took in its beauty, as the extra minutes of quiet gave me time to consider what living by a river that flows both ways could teach me.
On that morning, the river was flowing south — like it’s supposed to in my mind. However, there are times when it’s heading in the other direction. I’ve seen the reverse flow many times, but it still discombobulates me. Like the Vermilion, my relationship with my 15-year-old daughter has its own ebb and flow that no moon chart seems to be able to predict. And like the river’s reverse flow surprises me every time even though it happens often, the continual re-recognition that my 15-year-old daughter has a right to her own opinions and ideas does the same thing. When she was young, she was always such a compliant child.
Cue laughter on the part of other moms and dads who had compliant young children who grew to be teenagers.
Too often these days, she and I can’t get on the same wavelength. Seems as though when I’m in the mood to be relaxed and have fun, she’s surly and preoccupied. This week, I finally recognized that there are moments when she approaches me and offers her own form of an olive branch — and maybe I haven’t been exactly receptive either. I vowed to do better.
So, on Thursday morning when I was rushing to get to my office and she asked me to watch not one, but two Internet videos, I stalled. I asked if how long they were.
Seven minutes total, she said.
I asked if she could email me the links.
“I really want to watch them with you,” she said.
That was the point when I thought, “What’s seven minutes when it may re-open lines of communication with my daughter?”
So, I said, “Sure.”
And, she started the first video. It turned out to be one I had already seen, but I was going to watch it anyway — and love it. She must have sensed that I’d seen it and asked. I told her I had but that I wanted to watch it again. It was, after all, Valentine’s. (The video is the one with the guy named Isaac who choreographs and films his elaborate proposal to his girlfriend. She sits in the back of a car that goes slowly down the road as all their family and friends proceed to sing and dance and perform to Bruno Mars’ “I Think I Wanna Marry You,” ending with a proposal. It’s sweet, beautiful and touches me no matter how many times I watch it.)
My daughter said, “We don’t have to watch this one. The one I really want you to see is its follow up that just came out today.”
The first was a video about love. When it finished, we smiled at each other. Then she was ready to show me the second video. It ended up touching my heart even more than the first. Rather than being about the sappy sweet, choreographed, unrealistic aspect of love, the second video was about the power, value and rewards of long-lasting love — and the difference a supportive family makes.
Maybe my daughter simply showed me the video because it was beautiful and well done. Or maybe she too has occasional flashes of realization that life is better when you’re at peace and ease with those around you — especially your mother. Maybe she too wants to ease the tension that becomes all too common between a little girl who’s growing up and her mother.
Email Jan at email@example.com.