On the train this week, I saw a situation that reminded me of why I fear being a parent at times. Here's the situation:
- Daughter enters train first ans snags end seat.
- Mother follows right behind and sits next to daughter.
- Daughter has head phones on.
- Mother begins to talk to the daughter.
- Daughter takes off headphones in disgust, rolls eyes, smirks and then puts headphones back on.
- Mother continues to talk to daughter.
- Daughter straight out ignores mother.
- We arrive at North Station and daughter gets up to leave.
- Mother tries to give her kiss goodbye on cheek and barely sneaks it in as daughter gets up to leave.
- As daughter is leaving, mother is patting daughter on the back for some odd reason.
- Daughter doesn't acknowledge mother as she's leaving the train.
- Mother looks up, small tears in her eyes and shakes head, hoping that someone on the train will acknolwedge her.
- Old woman looks and says to Mother, "I know, I know."
Now, I have no idea what the background is to the story between the mother and the daughter, but I'm guessing it is what I fear the most about being a parent -- being shut out of our kids lives via a lack of communication. Yes, I realize there will be a time in my kids lives that they won't scream in sheer joy when I come home. It'll be more about borrowing money or using the car instead of piggy back rides. I know that it is inevitable and I can't slow that process down. What I vow to myself all the time is that I will communicate with my girls and be as open and honest with them as possible. I want them to be able to trust me and talk to me whenever they want. Yes, I know there are some subjects that I'm not qualified to talk about as a male and some others that I'd rather not talk about as a father of daughters (if you catch my drift).
Regardless of what was going on between this particular mother and daughter, I can see that it wasn't a one off thing. The look on the mother's face told me that it was a long uphill battle that she knows someday they'll get over -- someday. For me, I don't want to have to look forward to someday. That someday, should be today, tomorrow, next week, etc.
Communication is key, even though the kids might want to talk. However, eliminating the fear/consequences factor of the father/daughter relationship might help with that. Then again, I'm not entirely sure. My girls are only 5 and 3. To them, I'm still The Beatles.