A good portion of the conflicts that occur between my mother and I have their roots in our different perspectives and lack of adequate communication. For example, the other night I offered to hold Mother's fruit cup while she swallowed some pills. She thought I was telling her to give up the fruit cup for good and, not being ready to bid it adieu, she took exception. A misunderstanding ensued as we both got snippy with one another.
I was reading Melody's blog this afternoon, and as she related the story of her frightening brush with wildlife in an unexpected location, I was reminded of another miscommunciation that took place between my mother and myself over thirty years ago.
I was 16 years old and myopic. My face was positioned one inch from the bathroom mirror as I applied black eyeliner and several layers of mascara (it was the 70's). I turned to reach for my contact lenses and saw a movement on the floor. "A tissue fluttering in the air from the floor vent," I thought. I bent down close to examine the object. It was a palm sized wolf spider who, threatened by twin black lashed eyes that must have resembled intruders in its territory, leapt toward my face. I screamed, "SPIDER!!!!!!!!"
My mother, asleep in the next room, thought I'd said, "FIRE!!!" and came tearing out of her bedroom screaming, "WHERE'S the FIRE??????" This misunderstanding continued at top volume for quite a long time and ended with both of us feeling that the other did not have proper compassion for our respective traumas.
This was probably an accurate evaluation, because truth be told, I'm still miffed with Mama for her lack of empathy that day. And, she still speaks ruefully of the time I caused her to believe that her three bedroom ranch was going up in flames.