Allow me to describe it for you… it’s a huge, homemade, chocolate chip cookie, served in a piping hot skillet with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. It’s the kind of thing dreams are made of (at least my dreams). So, so good.
When we lived in L.A., we would often take new friends or visiting relatives to the restaurant to try it.
While I wanted my guest to have a bite or two of the dessert, I didn’t really want to share all of it. So, when the dessert arrived at our table, I would inquisitively say, “Hey! I’m curious. How is your relationship with your father?”
Warren would immediately roll his eyes because he knew my strategy: Get them talking about their family-of-origin and, while they are distracted, I can inhale most of the dessert myself while making good eye contact and nodding at appropriate intervals.
99% of the time it worked flawlessly. I highly recommend implementing this strategy into your next shared-eating situation.
All kidding aside, I know this question can bring up a lot of stuff for a lot of people. For some, questions about our parents bring up the fondest and most cherished of memories. For others, it brings up confusion and frustration about a relationship that isn’t quite fulfilling. And for others, it brings up deep pain, anger, or other difficult emotions such as grief and loss.
For many, myself included, the question brings up a variety of many different emotions.
I think that, sometimes, people assume therapists have healthy, balanced, and beautiful relationships with all their loved ones. You and I know this, unfortunately, isn’t the case.
I’m reminded of something Glennon Doyle said several years ago about family being the “final frontier.” Often, we can get into the rut of thinking that our relationships with those who are in close proximity, or with whom we’ve had the most history, should be the healthiest, or most evolved.
However, as Glennon alludes to, relationships close to home take the most time, effort, and intention of all. Sometimes, we might never get what we are looking for from our loved ones – but the work we do to make peace with this can be some of the hardest and most important work we’ll ever do.
I felt inspired to write about this today as we finish out another year of a Mother’s Day and Father’s Day – two holidays that can bring up a lot of emotions for a lot of people.
If your relationships with your family members are less than perfect, perhaps allow yourself to remember that family is the final frontier.
And, if you need to say more, let’s meet at B.J.’s and “share” a Pizookie.
Or, ya know, just reply here and tell me your thoughts. I always love hearing your reflections.