“I’m going out with my friends this evening for the Jazz festival”, Mayra announced, nonchalantly.
“But, Myra the doctors have asked you to rest it out for a while, before you can actually start going out. Else you’ll fall sick again and have to miss school.”
“The doctors always over-dramatise the sickness and you believe everything they say, Ma”, Mayra said rolling her eyes.
I took a deep breath. Trying very hard to keep my composure. My friend who was an energy guru had asked me to watch my breath every time I got rattled. It was easier said than done.
“Mayra, you aren’t going nowhere, and I mean it. You think you know more than the doctors! Well, you don’t. So no arguments on that. You are staying right here at home. I’m going to give you some chicken soup to ease that obnoxious cold. Enough of your adamancy all the time.”
I was trying to discipline not realising that I was reacting at the same time. It was obvious in my tone.
Mayra always had a way of pushing me to the edge.
“High hopes Ma. Try if you can, to stop me.” She declared snarkily and stomped out, banging the bedroom door behind her.
A hormonal teenager and a Peri-menopausal mother are not the most ideal mother-daughter combination you see. Frayed tempers, limited tolerance and minuscule patience; are the order of the day. This wasn’t helping either of us or the family at large. My poor better half, Siddharth and our eleven year old son, Aryan would helplessly try to diffuse the raging fire. And on some days just stay away, becoming mere, silent spectators to our slinging matches.
Mayra was seventeen and a half, ready to take her first step into “so-called adulthood”, as she vehemently proclaimed, all the time. She was always ready break the norms and do mostly as she pleased. That wasn’t an acceptable situation. There were certain boundaries that we had agreed upon as a family and when those boundaries got flouted, I insisted on a clamp. That fueled more rebellion and disobedience on her part.
I was literally losing it. Siddharth was also getting tired of trying to play peace maker each time, to disband the smoking tension. He was a true Buddha and nothing frazzled him. He was always at ease, irrespective. But I could see how badly he wanted Mayra and me to co-exist with love and harmony. The environment in our erstwhile blissful home felt toxic on most days. Aryan would also quietly retreat to his room, once he returned from tennis classes or football. He would carry his dinner to his room and eat solitarily, with his ear phones plugged in and a book in hand.
I really needed to turn things around. After all I was the adult here, and a Mom at that. My assumption that I could change Mayra wasn’t working. After much deliberation and thought I realised, it was about bringing the change within- my inner transformation.
They say when you change, the people around you also change. Mahatma Gandhi also had reiterated, “Be the change you want the world to be.”When you change, the people around you also change. Click To Tweet
I chose to act upon this thought by becoming mindful of my breath, as suggested by my friend. This entailed steadying my breath and bringing it down. Basically reducing the number of breaths per minute: as less as six breaths per minute. I was no where close to six, but was surely trying. I needed to be more alert to this exercise in a stressful situation. The moment I would see a conflict bubble up, I would start focusing on my breath. I also started using one of the Reiki (a Japanese form of healing) symbol that helps in alleviating emotions. I would create a steady exchange of the symbols between Mayra and me. Especially when our conversations would get volatile.
I also started interacting with her by responding, instead of reacting. Most of the times she and I reacted to each others words. The moment I became mindful of using a calm response with my words, instead of a barrage of reactive words, things started easing out.Choose responding, over reacting. Click To Tweet
The other thing that also helped me was waking up each morning to Mindfulness Meditation. This entailed not instantly reaching out for my phone, the moment I woke up, to check for the Whatsapp messages. Instead, it meant starting my day with an aura of meditative calm and mindfulness.
Slowly but surely disobedience and impetuousness gave way to rationalisation on Mayra’s part. I became less impatient and calmer; firm yet understanding at the same time. Instead of disagreeing all the time we started finding a middle ground.
A month later
It’s a crisp autumn morning. Ten thirty AM and there is still a soft, gentle nip in the air. I just turned off the fan that was barely moving at a speed of two. I’m busy writing for today’s prompt. Mayra saunters into my study, rubbing her eyes. She just woke up. Her mid-term break is on and she’s been staying up late either watching Amazon Prime or chatting up with her friends. She throws her arms around me and kisses me good morning. She plonks herself on the lazy boy and mumbles, “Whats for breakfast, Ma?”
“Yuck! Who wants Poha!” she retorts.
“Then what would you like.”, I say smiling back.
“Waffles and Egg Benedict would be nice,” she says with an unsure grin.
“Go! Shower quickly and let me wrap up this story. I’ll just take fifteen minutes. Then let’s go for a breakfast date to DiGhent. Sounds good?” I beam at her quizzically.
“Sounds good? You got to be kidding me, Ma! Sounds scrumptious.”
Peals of laughter fill the study.
Siddharth opens the door and pops his head in. He’s already on his Diwali break.
“What are my girls up to?”
“Shhh! Sid, that’s a girlie secret,” I say winking at him mysteriously.
Linking up with the Iron Lady, Corinne