Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Who Needs Perfect

Jordan and I have attachment issues. When I say attachment issues I mean we find it very difficult to be apart, at least emotionally. We both know it and we are able to discuss it rationally. Although there is often a great deal of, “don’t go, don’t leave me, come back really soon.” Presently, we are living in a small apartment in Manhattan like roommates. I don’t think this is a bad thing but apparently other people think it is unnatural—and I mean that in the nicest sense. According to some of my acquaintances (my friends know better), mothers and daughters are simply not supposed to get along and like being together, unless they are very young or have matured to a place where they understand what the other has been going through all their lives.

This is not the case with us. We have always liked being together. While we do fight and we often disagree and sometimes it even gets ugly, we are eventually reduced to tears because neither of us can bare the thought of not having access to one other. We simply do not enjoy being apart as much as we like being together. That is not to say that either of us have changed our lives or ambitions to sit home and watch TV. Quite the contrary. Jordan is happily away at school, actively pursuing her dream and I am still trying to stay positive about mine. (The blob helps).

I think that young women today are much better at dealing with their moms than we were. Most of Jordan’s friends are extremely close to their mothers. They talk regularly and seem to enjoy the conversation. There is not the usual angst that we experienced growing up. Although my mother was generous about having friends over and pretty lenient about curfews, we never had anything much to say to one another. And in fact, I pretty much stopped talking to her when I was 15. I remember we had a brief conversation when we fought about my first wedding, I think she was happy when I got my graduate degree, and we reconnected after Seth was born. But we never shared intimacies. My cousins told me about boys and sex and my friends helped me to understand the world.

This is not the case for the Burnett girls. We have never had any secrets. She tells me everything about her life or at least when there are problems, she is not reluctant to come to me with them no matter how embarrassing. I know about the first time she had sex and she refuses to watch David kiss me hello—that seems fair.

I try to be there when she needs me and be away when she needs to work something through for herself. This is not easy because I hate to see her struggle, but working at making things work is the way it should be. It’s never been any different. We never had terrible twos or threes or 15’s or anything. Neither of us expects faultlessness and neither of us wants it—well maybe I do a little. We never had to listen to that horrible dissonant music because she listened to and sang show tunes. That made it easier to be in the same room. This is not a small issue. If you want to have a relationship with your kid it’s a real plus to be able to be in the same room when they're having fun. It’s important to be around without interfering—and finding a happy medium is often difficult. But I try to be there to listen, to advise and to see all her performances. And I'm there so frequently I have become a kind of substitute “go to the show” mother for all her friends and they expect I will be there for their performances as well. And in return she always tries to be there for me. So, I am truly blessed to have such a good kid, good company, and a wonderful companion. If I could just get her to pick up her clothes, not leave wet towels around and tidy up the kitchen—it would be perfect. But then, who needs perfect when you have just right. We’re just sayin… Iris

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