"It's okay, I'm not passing judgement on you."
I don't know if I'm saying it more for her benefit or mine although I do know I mean it. Saying those words I needed to hear when I was her age but never did. Never heard or saw it in action, either. Still don't. I've accepted that to expect attitudes and actions from people unable to deliver them is crazy making. I don't long for it like I once did. Eventually I learned to give it to myself and there have been a host of people who have modeled it for me until I was able to receive it.
In any case I say it upfront and it feels good to do so. Part of me thinks that if I'd really evolved I wouldn't have to say it at all except only daughter and I both know I have too many years of judgemental attitudes under my belt for that to be the case. She moved away from home while I was still majoring heavily on passing judgement and spouting opinions without much of a valve on my mouth.
Only daughter is here to house/Pug sit for us while we fly away on an airplane this week. She has her own cute little puppy who is in the house training stage. That puppy bounces on her feet like Tigger. What energy.
When I was only daughter's age I had three preschoolers and I put all my energy when I was visiting my mom into gaining approval and avoiding disapproval. The only problem was that I couldn't read my mom's mind but I sure thought I could read both her mind and body language. After all, I had had 25 years of practice already. And it was all about me. She frowned? It was something I did. She showed any hint of exasperation? It was my fault. This went on for the whole time my kids were growing up.
I was 38 when I stopped looking to my Mom for the lowdown on how I was doing as a parent. It only came after a nervous breakdown and a pain filled year where I cried an awful lot. I would never sign up to go through that kind of pain again. I would never trade the growth either.
I can't speak for my daughter although I doubt that hers has been any less painful of a journey to individuation. I do see her as miles ahead of where I was at her age. I don't hold myself in judgement over that either. It is what it is.
I am grateful for the open communication we can have about this stuff though. It's not all serious either.(Rule 62) When I asked her to come read this before I posted it I told her that I had written and deleted a sentence about how having a puppy is like having kids. Don't gasp, it is. She then said at least with a puppy she didn't have to feel bad about putting it in its pen and walking away when she'd had enough and how it wasn't going to end up in puppy therapy years down the road because of it.
Thank God puppies don't pass judgement on us either.(Adds only daughter.)