For moms and daughters seeking a beginning, what you are looking for is an atmosphere that…
- Encourages you to talk.
- Allows you to be silent.
- Fosters discoveries.
- Reinforces the mutual security and safety you feel in one another's presence.
A quiet walk, new adventure, intimate lunch, or any number of shared activities can act as a catalyst. To make the most of the proper atmosphere, use what you have learned in this book. So much of what happens between mother and daughter is automatic. However, so much of really good mothering and daughtering is intentional and necessary.
It's All in How You Read It—Together
Book clubs for adults foster intimacy, growth, intellectual insight, understanding, and friendship among close participants. They can do the same for mothers and daughters.
Leigh Merinoff and her daughter Leslie, age 13, had been involved in a mother-daughter book club for almost 4 years. "It gives us a commitment together once a month," Leigh explained. "It started out as something that Leslie and I did that her brother wasn't included in. It was a way to feel more sophisticated. She went in her PJs and it was fun. It is something she and I do together, something that doesn't involve her friends or mine. The book club is like this little secret activity that no one else shares. We are able to sidestep everything else in our family, enjoy ourselves, and pass the gift of literature to our daughters. It had helped created a bond when others are having problems."
I think the most telling of all the things Leigh shared with me about this marvelous experience was this: "Three years ago when we started the group, the daughters would choose to sit across from all of the moms and when we would speak they laughed and squirmed. They all complained like crazy but went anyway. Now Leslie sits next to me."
Some Fresh Air Might Do You and Your Relationship Some Good
Every now and then it is important to breathe fresh air into our mother-daughter relationships. That was what Susan Neumer from Chicago had in mind when she took her 24-year-old daughter, Alison, to Vail for morning hikes and nighttime talks. It turned out to be the optimal, idyllic spot in which they could reawaken their closeness and carry on important talks and decision making without interruption.
"The trip wasn't just one of those special moments," Susan said. "It was one of those fantastic times together. The kind of time you can't have with a grown child unless you are in a setting separate and apart from all of the normal pressures one deals with in regular life."
Susan set the scene. "Alison was at a crossroads in her life: She had broken up with her boyfriend and was thinking about changing jobs. She had moved away from home and we lost the opportunity to talk and be intimate in a way that we used to."
"We hiked separately since Alison was more advanced than I and at night we got into bed and talked. The hotel only had a room with a king-size bed available. Our talks were very important because we were having communication problems. We needed an atmosphere where no one could intrude on our lives and there would be real freedom to explore each other. We needed a place that would help conversation flow rather than force our lines of communication open.
"Alison really opened up, and I think I learned to respect her independence on that trip. I could see her coming together in front of my eyes. She was beautiful in every respect and it made me feel good inside. There were so many warm and cozy moments. In many ways it was like having a small child again. There was just us, isolated from everyone and everything else, including adult burdens that confronted us both."
The trip, five days and six nights in total, left a lingering affect on Susan and Alison. "I think our communication has been far better and we are kinder to each other and have more of a tendency to give us each greater latitude."