Am I too invested? I don’t think so. That’s how lots of mothers of my generation relate to their daughters: as chums.
So when she takes a family vacation, we text. She lets me know she arrived safely, and I ask, “Why kind of car did you rent?”
I realize that’s a totally unimportant fact–really, who cares what kind of car she rents? And yet, the answer gives me a picture of her everyday. It then becomes something to joke about. When she tells me she’s worried that a full size car isn’t big enough, I imagine her, schlepping 2 weeks of stuff for a family of five on a road trip. “You’re like the Bev Hillbillies, ” I text back.
To me, the essence of a close relationship–with a spouse or adult child, or a deep friendship–is to laugh together at an inside joke. Such (rare) relations are bound together by threads of knowing, which comes from sharing the dailiness (to be read as “daily-ness”) of your life. If you know another person’s everyday moments, what kind of foods she likes to eat, her responsibilities, her fears, then you’re probably on the close end of the relationship continuum with her, pretty close to soul mate.
I’ve thought a lot about this, because my partner has worked overseas since December ’08. The biggest challenge has been to maintain that dailiness, which isn’t easy when six hours and an ocean separate us. Jen and I are at least in the same time zone. But she has a Big Life–three kids, a business, a partner, a large network of friends and acquaintance–so it’s not that easy either. We work at it, consciously or not. We speak almost everyday. And when you talk that often, you get to ask questions like, “What kind of car did you rent?”