“Teach Your Children”
Crosby, Stills and Nash
And so become yourself because the past is just a good bye.
Teach your children well, their father’s hell did slowly go by,
And feed them on your dreams, the one they fix, the one you’ll know by.
Don’t you ever ask them why, if they told you, you would cry,
So just look at them and sigh and know they love you.”
My daughter has been insufferable lately.
Everyone keeps telling me it’s just the age, but I am still adequately annoyed with her enough to write a post about it. If I hear that she is acting like your typically normal 17-year-old teenage girl one more time, I’m gonna scream and then go play with my crayons.
We raise our kids the best we can, trying to instill all the good stuff. (You know, kindness, empathy, rinsing your plate off after dinner.) All we can do is hope that it takes hold and catches fire.
And for the most part, she is a warmhearted girl.
Except when it comes to me.
For whatever reason, my daughter treats me like I just fell off of a turnip truck. (I have always wanted to use that in a sentence.)
Last week, I was on the couch, literally writhing in pain because I couldn’t use the facilities within an optimum time frame.
I tried every product on the market, hoping for gentle, overnight relief. (Remind me to write a letter to Ex-lax and Fleet enema’s.)
So there I am, when the whippersnapper comes downstairs from her cave. She sits on the footstool, and then starts stroking her face lovingly.
“My skin is so soft…” she croons. (New facial scrub, fyi.)
I peered at her over my glasses. Now, why the hell would I give a rats ass about her silky skin at that moment? There I was, practically reenacting my labor, and she was totally oblivious to my discomfort. All I could do was shake my head at her and moan.
“I was just making conversation,” she said sheepishly, with a huge dash of defensiveness thrown in for that bitter aftertaste.
My illness worsening was rather sudden. One day, I was the mother who was on top of everything. The next, I couldn’t remember what day of the week it was. I went from moderately active, to not very active at all. There are three places you can find me at any given time. The couch, the computer, or my bed. Besides the occasional outing, I am always available to her, even if I’m not cognitively with the program.
Just the week before, she told me to stop dwelling on it. I have to admit, that really hurt my feelings. That comment is on the top five of what not to say to a chronic pain sufferer. Coming out of the mouth of my own flesh and blood just floored me.
I feel invisible to her much of the time, unless she wants something.
If I try to talk to her about how I feel, she gets all defensive, then starts to cry.
“You make me feel like a bad person! I’m not selfish!”
She focuses on her life, and if something goes wrong, the proverbial monkey wrench fucks up the whole works. Drama flows freely like wine.
There is a definite strain between us. I can’t help but be highly troubled by my daughters lack of empathy towards me. She is the one who looks through me the most. It makes me sick to think that I have done her so wrong somehow that she can’t find it in her heart to make me a cup of tea and give me a spontaneous, real hug.
Perhaps I am asking for too much. Eh, it’s just the age.
I hope so.