And I’m going to tell you the absolute truth about this, despite the monkeys squeaking and squealing in my head about how this will mess with my look-good.
This story is about my daughter Rose, who turns 27 next week, and dropped out of college a few years ago. Her path in life, so far, looks a lot more like mine did in my 20s (and 30s!), and a lot less than what I had in mind for her. I learned a long time ago that my daughter has her own path, her own loving higher power, and that her loving higher power’s name is not Sue!
First the good news:
- I have an good, loving, relationship with my daughter today. I was very very late to the party when it came to learning how to be a good, kind, consistent mother, and by some miracle and a hefty amount of grace, the damage that I did during Rose’s early years wasn’t permanent.
- I have grown into a woman who is loving. I have learned how to be generous, how to be grateful, and how to let the important people in my life (Rose would be #1 on that list) know how much they mean to me. This causes healing. I am here to tell you that this causes powerful heart-to-heart healing.
- Rose calls me for advice, she calls me because I make her feel better, she actually listens to my advice (this is instead of telling me, as she used to, for years, “You don’t understand, Mom, things are different than they were when you were a kid,” and then hanging up on me in anger. The pivot moment for this happened the day I closed the checkbook. Until that day, 9 out of 10 phone calls from Rose were because she wanted money. That doesn’t happen any more.
I bought my daughter a car!
I’ve had money set aside for my daughter. I put $5,000 of the inheritance I got from my parents into an account for her, hoping she would want to go back to school, and happy to be able to help her do that. She has shown increasing maturity when we’ve talked about it. As her car was dying, I kept offering to use some of that money to help her fix the car, and she kept telling me to keep it safe, that she would take care of the car herself.
Her car finally died, and living in suburban, no-public-trans, Folsom, California as she does, she’s been hampered in her efforts to transfer to a different store (she’s a Starbucks barista), or get a better job.
After a few conversations with her, she got very clear that while she does want to go back to school, she wants to do that on her own dime, and that she really really needs a car. Her father and I (we haven’t lived together in 20 years, and we get along very well around all things Rose) decided we’d go halfsies on a new used car for her.
It all went down Friday. We drove out to the used car guy my friends recommended, and she fell in love with a beautiful 2003 Infiniti, which is the car she now owns.
Here’s where it pinches
I have been driven temporarily insane by the fact that I bought Rose a car that’s one year newer, a bit fancier (I have a Camry), and has 20,000 less miles than mine does! I nearly didn’t do it; it was a struggle. I nearly made her take my car so I could have the Infiniti for myself. In fact, if the Infiniti had heated seats (a feature I have loved for the entire time I’ve owned this car, and I bought it new), I think I would have done it.
The pinch? Something like this: I often say that I wasn’t in the room when they passed out the life-skills manual, or maybe I just up and left the room. I’ve been in Remedial Life Skills 101 for nearly 22 years now, since I got clean and sober. And the chapter about unselfishness, about selfless parenting? Well, I don’t know that I even got to that chapter or thought about the concept, until last Friday. Instead, I’ve been processing, and slowly releasing thoughts like:
- My daughter has a nicer ride than I do, one that I bought her; what kind of loser am I
- I should have made her buy a less fancy car (ugh! there’s something dark twisted up in here about it being a bad thing to make her so happy, and that she’ll learn more if the ended the transaction disappointed)
- I shoulda kept the Infiniti for myself!
And here’s how gratitude saves my ass (again and again and again)
Access to gratitude saves my ass, one more time!
- I am grateful that Rose has wheels, a reliable and good-looking ride
- I am grateful that she is so grateful for the help her dad and I are giving her
- I am grateful to be in a position to help my kid
- I am grateful for the beautiful afternoon we spent together, feeling our way through making this happen
- I am grateful that Rose brought her insurance papers with her, and let me teach her a bit about navigating the ins and outs of employee benefits
- I am grateful that I have friends—and my siser—who listen to me with patience and love as I move through the potholes of my ego
- I am grateful for my daughter’s developing ethics. She wants to pay us back whatever money she gets from the sale of her defunct car
- I am grateful that I am able to tell her that she doesn’t have to do that; the Infiniti is a gift. And also to tell her that if she wants to anyway, I will put the money in savings for her
- I am grateful to know what a miracle this is, from start to finish
And one more gratitude
- I am grateful for a beautiful drive through the hills and walk through the Tilden Park Botanic Gardens on a gorgeous day.