Cassie: This is a perfect dinner. A little of this, a little of that, room for dessert.
Chloe: Exactly. Dad would never go for it.
Cassie: I know.
Over the course of our girlie dinner, we talk about everything: boys at school (who is tolerable, who is not), girls at school (who is tolerable, who is not) but since it’s Chloe and she is kind to all people, few names are mentioned. Instead, we discuss the TYPE of boy or girl who is intolerable. Then, during dessert, which has been brought to us with great flourish by the handsome waiter who looks like James Franco, something really interesting is discussed….aspects of our mother/daughter relationship.
Chloe: The battles (the big ones) are really only about control.I don’t want you to control me. I want you there…I want to know that you are there…but not in control…of…me…..
Cassie: Yes. Sometimes you don’t like me to direct even about the smallest things, right?
Chloe: Right. It just gets me so mad.
Cassie: I remember that.
Cassie: Being mad. Over the littlest things. At my mother.
Chloe: Well sometimes I’m mad at you over big things, but sometimes they are little. You were mad at Grandma BJ?
Cassie: Yes. It seems ridiculous now. It could have been over anything. The way her jaw cracked, for instance, when she chewed…if I was cranky….first thing in the morning.
Chloe: Your jaw cracks….when YOU chew.
Cassie: I know. It’s annoying, right?
Cassie: I spent a lot of time in my room. Being away. When I was a teenager.
Chloe: I do that, too.
Cassie: I know.
Chloe: I like knowing everyone’s out there…in the house…but in my room, I can be alone and it calms me.
Cassie: Yes. I remember feeling like that. I really remember that. The escape to the room, but also feeling the safety of the family, bustling and crazy and loud out there in the house…there if you needed them.
Chloe: The thing is when I get mad, when I get really mad, after I’ve cooled down in my room, I always think about what it must be like for the other person…you or Dad or whoever I feel is wrong. I try to see it from their angle.
Cassie: That’s very impressive. When I was your age, it never ever would have occurred to me to put myself in someone else’s shoes, especially if I felt I had been wronged by them. Nope… I’d usually sulk and dramatize for quite a while. (Pause) You know I can’t even remember what I was in an outrage about…why I would go stomping off to my bedroom. But I do remember stomping. And slamming doors, which would really get my dad going. I’m pretty sure that I never once considered what my mother or father was thinking or feeling…what it all looked like from where they stood. Poor Grandma BJ. My teenage years must have been rough for her and Pop.
Chloe: Are my teenage years rough for you?
Cassie: Hardly, my dear. You are one of the kindest teenagers to your siblings, your friends and your parents I’ve ever, ever loved so much.
Chloe: Thanks Mom. You deserve it. (chuckling now) Because when Charlie’s a teenager….
Cassie: I know, Dear God…I know. What will I do, Chloe?
Chloe: You’ll look back on the fights we’ve had and remember them fondly compared to the blowouts you’ll probably have with Charlie. That boy may be funny but he is stubborn.
Cassie: Yea. Now I’m getting scared.
Chloe: Just remember to put yourself in his shoes. The anger goes away faster if you remember to do that.
Cassie: Yea. I will. I’ll try.
Chloe: This was a nice dinner. Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.
Cassie: Thanks, Chloe. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.