It wasn’t easy telling her how I felt used and taken for granted,
all the while fighting self-judgment for sounding needy and guilting.
Do I tell her how I feel, even though there’s nothing she can do about it,
especially knowing that she will feel she has to do something about it?
Do I just silently accept our condition–she not relating to me, not
wanting to be with me, me wanting to be with her but not knowing how
to reach her, make her happy, engaged and connected?
She needs my money, advice and time.
She needs my permission, approval and signature.
I pay for whatever she wants and requires.
I take her where she must go, pace the sidelines and cheer her on,
encourage her, give her feedback and teach her how to live now and beyond us.
We make each other laugh and share sharp wit and sardonic smiles.
She seems appreciative for us, for all we are and do.
No one writes a more heartfelt loving, grateful text.
I don’t doubt her love, she not mine either, I hope.
She’s neither unhappy nor oppressed, just disinterested.
Tied in obligation knots, we–without violence, anger or volume–co-exist,
each with our silent confusion, angst and helplessness, resentment perhaps.
If she could only speak her mind.
Is it bullying to speak mine, a unilateral outpouring inevitably producing reactive
toxic anxiety or worse yet, guilt?
If she would shout, complain and demand, I would know what to do.
But quiet responsibility-assuming aimed at relieving me burden, one fewer needy time-taker,
a sign she’s stepping independently aloof into burgeoning adulthood, leaves me flustered.
No one wins, even when we’re not vying for an upper hand or competing in a contest.
As our relationship gestates, becomes what it will be for years to come, then changes
again, waiting, speaking and abstaining are the hardest parts.
Just one more of the many skills, mothering this one, I may never master.