She wouldn’t respond.
Instead, she seemed to crawl as far into her shell (me) as physically possible.
“What’s your name?” “What’s your favorite color?” “Can I get a high-five?”
All met with the same response.
Eventually, I faced her and explained, “When someone asks you your name, you say, ‘My name is Elizabeth.’ When they ask you your favorite color, you tell them.”
A light-bulb went off- for both of us.
Elizabeth’s entire life has been permission-based. She does not try a new food, unless explained-by-me that it is safe for her to eat.
And as the youngest of four sisters, she has always looked to others to lead the way.
So it finally made sense, why she had never responded before: she had never been told to.
And it finally made sense to her, that is was ok to respond.
She was simply catching up.
I shared this revelation with a friend of mine and her response, more-or-less was,
We dove into a conversation about our childhoods, how they’ve shaped us and ultimately how different they were.
Her military-based family traveled.
But her mother was always there and my friend always felt seen, supported and loved.
My mother traveled and always asked if I knew how much she loved me, for her own reassurance.
I realized, no one ever taught me, like they taught my friend.
I’ve always just figured it out, on my own.
I left home at 15 for boarding school, never to return home.
I married at 27, had a child by 29
Making my own sense.