Sometimes What They Say Means Something So Different.

Vee and I have been having some ‘moments’ recently.

Week 10 (feels like 5000) of COVID quarantine has made us all a touch surly, and our fuses all seem to be shrinking. The ways that we are adapting are not optimal, but they get us through. I have gotten into the habit of walking on egg shells, and she has gotten into the habit of turning to certain clipped phrases that, while pretty direct, just don’t seem to mean the same thing as their surface implies.

“Whatever.” She says this word a lot, coupled with an eye roll and a practiced scoff, punctuated with a quick pivot to leave the room – and it does not translate to ambivalence.

“It’s totally fine.” She has been known to say this with her jaw set, eyes burning; her lower lip fighting hard not to tremble.

“Leave me alone.” She says this while coming straight towards me; looking at once to hug me and get me out of her way.

“I hate everything.” This ’round up’ phrase cuts through the air with so many emotions that I can never tell which one is prominent or what’s triggered it.

At one point last week I felt so disconnected from my sweet daughter that I cried hard into my pillow. I replayed the years of misunderstandings my own mom and I fought through to keep our closeness and felt like I was standing at the base of my own looming Everest.

And then I remembered something. I replayed myself as a teenager complaining to thin air, “Why? Why doesn’t she just ask me what it means?”

I slowly grabbed a sheet of recycled paper, and wrote down the phrases that confused me, under the heading of ‘What You Say’. Then I created 2 other columns. One was labeled ‘What It Means’ and the last was called ‘What Do You Need?’

I slid the paper in front of Vee and asked her if she would be interested in playing this game with me. I held my breath after asking if she could translate what the phrases really mean when she’s saying them, along with what she actually needs to feel better. She slowly looked over the list and nodded. ‘Ok Mom, just go away so I can do this.’

She came back 5 minutes later with a smile on her face.

“I spilled my secrets. And you know what? I think we should share this with people. Can we like, make our own cute chart for them?”

So we did. We had fun making it into a downloadable using Vee’s colour suggestions – and now you can use it too. Here you go.

From my Tween and I, to you.

We also made an IGTV about it that you can watch here.

Hang in there friends. We’re in this together.

Use those superpowers for good! XO