Mothers and daughters, and the questions we trade

Lily and I work on a private podcast for her grandfather (my dad), who is working in India.

I have a clear memory of leaning over the side of the tub, rinsing the strawberry birthmark on my daughter’s soft baby skin as she splashed around, oblivious to me. I was responsible for her cleanliness and safety, her health and well-being. A year prior, I had been routinely pecking from a large cheese ball for dinner (on nights I actually ate dinner) and alternately puffing from Marlboro Lights and an asthma inhaler.

Now I was 25, indulging in a “Can’t believe I’m an actual adult” moment. She was four months old and (appropriately) self absorbed and entirely dependent on another person. In many ways, we were just alike. I said aloud: “Lily, I cannot WAIT for you to talk to me.”

A few weeks ago we walked through Centennial Park together on a warm spring Sunday. One mile melted into another as she lobbed enormous questions:

What is God?

What happens when you die?

Why don’t boys wear dresses?

Why are people mean to animals?

Why do people get mad at other people who don’t agree with them?

Why can’t girls ask guys out on dates?

Do things happen for a reason?

Maybe because I’m open to all kinds of answers, my child is open to asking all kinds of questions. More likely it is the other way around.

In either case, we are still in concert. I’m holding her above the water, rinsing her back, talking her through age 9. She’s waving and splashing, delighting us both, talking me through what’s left of 33.


12 thoughts on “Mothers and daughters, and the questions we trade

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  4. I also hope that my children always feel like they can come to me with anything. I have such great kids and they never cease to amaze me.

  5. Delightful. The conversations do continue (I promise) into double digits. Often with no clear answers. I have found, I think?, that double digit conversation is more about me listening and them talking. This is hard for the talker in me. But when I shut my mouth, they say the most amazing things.

  6. Conversations like this are interesting to me, and special. The way you answer each question can shape a little bit of what she will become. It’s a big responsibility but a big privilege as well.

  7. This is great! My prayer is that my kids will always know they can come to me and their dad about anything. So far, so good! Thanks for sharing!

  8. Thanks for sharing and wow, from what I can tell this is good of you being open with your daughter as well as encouraging discussion and keeping the parent-child bond together.

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