by Wendy Keller, blogger, mother, daughter, friend
My elderly friend Daphne died a few years back. She was a feisty woman with a big heart. Daphne had been a single mother and a real estate agent for decades. In fact, her 40-something-year old daughter was living with her when I met her. “Mooching” off her, as Daphne used to say.
They apparently didn’t get along, yet to help her always-unemployable daughter, Daphne let the ungrateful woman take the only bedroom in her tiny apartment…and pay no rent. I never met the daughter and didn’t want to.
I guess that’s why Daphne had been dead for months before I found out what had happened.
Most mornings when I make my bed, I think about Daphne and her troubled relationship with her daughter. Daphne was British and had lived through the tail end of the war. One of her biggest pet peeves with her daughter was that she didn’t make the bed properly. Daphne believed you had to remove all the covers and let the mattress air out in the mornings. That meant opening the windows, and setting the pillows on end, too.
I can just imagine her daughter, raised in an era when mattresses weren’t stuffed with straw or whatever, rolling her eyes over Daphne’s insistence.
Yet Daphne complained about the bed-making pretty much every single time I took her out for a meal. She was as certain she was right as her daughter was certain it didn’t matter.
Sometimes, people in my life do things that make no sense to me, either. Sometimes, I want to call them out for acting the way they do, or not doing something the way I know it should be done.
Seems to me like a lot of human relationships would go a lot smoother if we all paused to take into consideration that other people might have equally valid reasons for doing things the way they do, and then just let them be.
“Pick your battles” I always wanted to say to dear Daphne. I miss her now. I wonder if the nagging Daphne did and the defiance her daughter exhibited was worth the wear and tear it caused in their relationship? How does the daughter feel now that her mother is gone? Would it have been easier to just air out the bed? Should Daphne have just let things be?
More importantly: do we ever damage our own relationships by making mountains out of molehills?