“When it comes to teenagers, only a fool offers advice.” – Tym Noble
The Group was relaxing in the Garden of Youth. Conversation had dwindled. Some of the delegates, affected by the setting, shifted to more personal perspectives. The Big Woman in particular. Her thoughts escaped. “How do you deal with hatred?” She said, to no-one in particular. “My daughter despises me so much she can barely stand talking to me. No respect at all.”
Across the Group many responses arose. But they all had the good sense to hold them back. The delegates were Biella’s charge. This was clearly a personal matter. They thought it prudent for Biella to deal with it first. She would include them if Appropriate.
Sensing this shift the Big Woman directed her stress, “Do you have any advice Biella?”
“Advice no, Perspectives yes,” Biella said smiling. “There are too many detailed particulars missing…” Biella left off, providing an opportunity for the Big Woman to Share further. As Biella suspected, no more was forthcoming. “But I do have a story for you.” The Group shifted closer. The Aspirants loved stories, as did the New Nobility as a whole. A fundamental part of their culture.
“In a faraway land, on a faraway planet…”
Biella begun in one of the customary ways a fable style story would begin, “There was a young girl. She hated her mother.” Biella grinned at the big woman, shrugging a cheerful apology at the obviousness of her ploy. The Big Woman merely nodded, listening.
“The girl’s mother was perplexed. She could not fathom her daughter. She consulted a wizard.” The big woman looked up at this, mildly surprised. “Upon returning the mother went to the daughter.”
“I apologise,” the mother said sincerely. “I am sorry, I am so very very sorry.” She said no more. She had made her Peace. With herself. She had lingered for a moment after her unburdening.
Seeing this, the daughter’s curiosity was aroused. Before the mother fully turned away to leave, she snarled, “What do *You* have to be sorry for?” The canny mother said no more.
She had been fully earnest in her apology. But she knew her daughter. She knew herself.
The mother said nothing. She held still, maintaining the hold on her apology, on her equanimity. She had been forewarned. She had to hold herself. “Let it burn some, let it burn some more,” she reminded herself.
“No really!” the daughter pouted. “So typical of you. You just come here and say your nonsense for who knows what reason and then you won’t say anything about it. UGH!! I could scream.” The daughter indeed seemed about to. But the mother held fast.
“What the hell was that all about’” the daughter now did scream. “You can’t just say stuff like that and then refuse to say why. Oh!! I hate you so!!”
*But you have not sent me away.*
The mother held fast.
“Whyyyyyyy!!!” the daughter screeched, all her pent-up anger coming out. Somewhat spent she now demanded. “No, seriously, I really want to know. Tell Me!! Tell me what *YOU* have to apologise and be sorry for?”
*Now she has truly asked, she meant it that time.*
The mother made to speak. Taking her time. The girl saw, waited. The hatred ebbing with the wait. “I am sorry I am not perfect,” the mother began. Before the daughter could retort she continued. “I am sorry for being so very very far away from perfect. I am sorry for being broken and flawed. I am sorry for being a mess of a mother. I am sorry for…” She trailed off. The wizard had been specific.
“For WHAT?” the daughter spat.
“I am sorry for being you,” the mother replied evenly, earnestly.
The daughter’s face collapsed.
*Wait, wait. Wait for her to come.*
The girl, smaller, younger now, scared, frail, shrunk before her mother. It was all the mother could do to not rush to her daughter and fold her into her into a loving embrace. All she wanted to do just then was hold her tight. But the Wizard had been specific. This was the moment that determined it all.
*She has to come to it by herself.*
“What do you m…” the girl faltered. She knew, but did not want to know. She couldn’t voice the question yet.
The anger faded, distraught now, the lower lip beginning to quiver, the girl, tried to resist the Tsunami of Truth.
“Arrgh!!” she cried in frustration. “It’s so just like you!!!” she vented. The accuracy of her statement escaping the girl slightly. But not totally.
The mother held her Peace. For she *HAD* made Peace with herself. The wizard had insisted. Making sure it was so. He had been harsh, yet fair.
The mother repeated to her daughter what he had said: “It is not me you despise, but it is the Awful Truth you hate.” She said it soberly, as the wizard had done, yet there had been a gentleness. The mother allowed that gentleness to pass to the girl.
“You can choose to hate, and lock my failings into yourself forever. Or you can learn to Not be like me before it is too late.” The shock smacked the girl, bringing her to her senses. She had never heard her mother speak like this. She did not know her mother *Could* speak like this.
The mother held up her hand, silencing the girl before she could speak. “There is nothing more to say. You are on your own now. Learn from me what Not to be. That is the only Gift I have for you. The rest is up to you. Do you understand? Don’t repeat my life. Don’t be me.” Before the girl could even nod the mother turned away and left the room. Leaving with power. Not slow, not hurried. She stayed within herself. Holding tight until inside her own room, where she locked the door and burst into tears.
“Oh my baby girl,” the mother sobbed. Crying the cry of all mothers who set their daughters free. But, as the wizard had so painstakingly explained, now the daughter had a Chance. Before, she had worse than none. Maybe, just maybe, with time, her daughter would find her way back to loving. In the meantime, the mother had work to do. On herself.
The Big Woman’s face showed shock of her own. “Why Biella…” she hesitated a fraction, “It that how you see me?”
“No,” Biella grinned, “But it is making you think. That story is not going away inside you any time soon is it?”
“No blast you,” the Big Woman scowled with a painful smile, “No blast you. But bless you too. I will carry it with me now and struggle with figuring out how to communicate it to my daughter.”
“Perhaps read it to her,” Biella said soberly. “Read it to your daughter, make a recording. Send it to your daughter with all the Earnest Intent you can muster.”
By Syl Dinada
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