A few weeks ago I received a text message from my brother informing me that he had been out for lunch with my adult daughter, that she had been delightful, and that I must be so proud of her.
The impact on me of the message, was felt as a tension in my body, and a confusion in the mind bordering on annoyance.
There has been a disconnect with my daughter, and unresolved issues from how I behaved as a parent during her teenage years to manage her temperament, and my brother knows full well the trouble that exists between us.
His message, irritated me, but rather than hold on to the anger, which even writing this post does not make sense, I was determined to feel into his sentiment.
Was he interfering in my own relationship with my daughter?, or, was he trying to tell me something new about her that he had discovered?.
In the meantime no other communication passed between us, he lives in a different city and I am not always in touch with him, but I did see my daughter on several occasions, most latterly at a family birthday at which I perceived she had upset her sister.
Later that evening, I picked up the telephone and I called her to say I was hurt that she had been mean to her sister, and that I feared for future family unity in the years ahead if all of us did not take a different course.
I acknowledged to her the pain I had caused her as a father struggling to cope with managing her change into adulthood, my sense of failure at work, my sense of failure in my marriage, my sense of failure as a provider.
I explained to her that I had been investing time in recent years, in changing my inner narrative to a life in the present, a life of calm and that I had tried very hard to shake off the old narrative.
In a two hour phone call, she told me that she had noticed the change, she explained her relationship with her sister and assured me that I had misunderstood a more complex situation.
She told me that I had not to be concerned for the past, acknowledging her own temperament and assuring me that she held no hard feelings about my parenting during those years.
We said that we would meet more often on a 1:1 and have more opportunities to talk and get to know each other – she said I don’t think you know me as the person I have become.
After the call, she sent to me a text message in which she said that she had appreciated my opening up to her and she told me “I love you”
At last, I understood the message that my brother had sent to me a few weeks ago when he said “You Must Be So Proud Of Her”
My next blog will be: A Change in Response