Scene 3: Sunday Heart-to-Heart
The next day was Sunday, and Karen got up early to fix breakfast for Mama and herself. When Mama woke up, she smelled coffee and toasting bagels.
In the kitchen, she hugged her daughter and said, “My Krana Layala, thank you for breakfast. You really made my day.”
Karen had thought about what she had to tell her Mama and how to put it gently so she did not hurt her feelings. She poured her a cup of coffee and put it on the dining table with her own cup of peppermint tea. Then she spread cream cheese on half a bagel and added lox for protein before placing a few capers on top for extra flavor. That was for Mama. She made one just like it for herself and put them on the table.
“Thanks, Mama. You make my day, every day. Let’s sit down and talk for a minute.”
“Sure, my dear, but I can tell there’s something on your mind. It’s about the dance studio, isn’t it? I promise you, I can find a suitable space for you. I’ll get right on it and stay on it until I find the perfect place.”
Karen sipped her tea and dunked the peppermint tea bag before replying. She did not want to reject Mama’s help, but she needed to find a studio independently—in her own way and time. In her mind, these were two different things. She watched as Mama sipped her coffee in silence.
“That’s just it, Mama. I’m eighteen now, and I feel I should be able to do things free from outside help or influence. How will I ever find a studio independently if you keep aiding me? I feel like I can’t even do things interdependently. This is really important. I want to have my own sense of interdependency between us. I want to gain my own worth and self-confidence. This will never be possible if you keep taking control.
“I appreciate your help and everything you have done for me my entire life, but I need you to back off. How will I ever grow up and learn to do anything on my own if you keep taking over? And how can I be expected to teach dance if I can’t even find a studio space alone? How will I ever be able to live my life in this world if you keep doing these things?”
It was Mama’s turn to pause, and Kitten wondered what she would say.
Mama gasped. There was silence for a moment or two. “Do I really do that to you, Krana Layala?”
“Yes Mama, you do. All the time. I know you only want the best for me, but how will I ever live in this world and function as a healthy person if you keep doing everything for me?”
“I am so, so sorry I do this to you. I had no idea you felt this way… I never meant to hurt you like this. You are my daughter. My life. My world. I have no meaning or purpose without you! I understand what you tell me now and how I naturally take over. I really need to change and do something about this. Sometimes, I forget that you’re growing up and must do things for yourself. There is nothing wrong with that. Those are feelings we all go through, whether or not we are disabled… I even went through it. All people go through this in their lives. This is part of living life to become more of yourself. I apologize if I took that desire away from you.
“I also recognize that you want to rely on your strengths, resources, and powers to grow as a person. I don’t want to take that away from you! If not, you will remain my little girl, never knowing how to care for yourself. I am always here if you need me or my opinion. So, go ahead, my child, grow and bloom. I will support you and whatever you want to accomplish. I don’t want to be that mama you described. I apologize if I take those healthy acts of growing up away from you. I’ll help if you ask, otherwise, I’ll take a step back. All right?”
Original text ©2023 by Karen Lynn-Chlup. All rights reserved.