Yesterday morning, Nate paid $3.99 to rent Disney Pixar’s latest, Brave. I’m so glad he did. Can you believe it? A Disney movie where both parents live! More to the point, with so many Disney movies focused on the relationship between father and a mother, finally one that centers around the mother. I didn’t know this, as I drew Laura onto my lap during the first scene (where I thought for sure the dad was a goner). I just snuggled Laura in close, and prepared to mitigate the scary parts as they happened.
And yes, I did have to talk through a few scary bear scenes. But what I found myself discussing the most was the rather tense relationship between Merida, the daughter, and Queen Elinor, the mother. Sound familiar? It did to me. If only the mother would listen to the daughter, I thought as I narrated to Laura the reverse, “You see Laura, the little girl needs to listen to her mommy!”
What mother and daughter haven’t had their miscommunications? Have you ever heard of a mother and daughter who didn’t fight about what clothes to wear, what boys to see, or what life paths to follow? Back in 1997, I was not allowed to go to the Freedom Festival. I cried in my room for hours over the injustice. I had NO IDEA (truly) that the festival was a rally for the legalization of marijuana – all I knew is that my friends were going and I was not. With the hindsight only years and maturity can offer, of course my parents were right to keep me home. I had no business being at that rally. But to a teenager who was finally feeling included and welcomed by a group of kids at school, my parents’ decision was heartbreaking.
I could totally relate to Merida while we watched Brave yesterday.
But you want to hear the scary part? No, not the eipc bear fight at the end. The scary part was that I could totally relate to Queen Elinor, too. Yes, Queen Elinor who asked ad nauseum to please keep weapons off the table, and please do wear this (hideous) outfit I lovingly chose for you. For heavens sake, Merida – can’t you see your poor mother only wants what is best for you?
Laura and I bicker. Already. She’ll be three years old tomorrow, and I am already drowning in mother-daughter drama. She’s not even three, and we already argue over clothes she can and cannot wear. I can’t help but think this arguing is somehow my fault. I must be doing something wrong as a mother that we already yell and cry so often over such little things. Just this morning, I forced Laura to wear an undershirt with her short sleeved tutu dress. It was 30* out with freezing rain – I didn’t think my request warrented so many tears. Nor did I think I was being ridiculous or mean when I asked Laura to pee on the potty when she woke up. Honestly, I thought everyone needed to pee – badly! – when they woke up in the morning.
So to my own mother, I’m sorry. For all the times I pouted in my playhouse for far too long. For the times I fought the food you served for breakfast, lunch and dinner. For the mornings you had to forcibly dress me for school. For all the times I changed outfits after I got to school. For those times I told you I had musical rehearsal, but really went to Lindsay’s house after school. For not taking Art History sooner. For not confiding in you that I had met the most wonderful man…
For as hard as it can be to be a daughter, it’s even harder to be a mom. I love you, Mom. You have always been there for me, even when it hurt the most. Thank you for being the best mom.
Your loving daughter,