birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.


My granddaughter had her tonsils out last week. And because my daughter’s family lives around the corner, my husband and I have been trying hard to respect their boundaries. We don’t show up over at their house uninvited, we do not even drop something off without a clear discussion. 

I grew up in a family that believed strongly in the right to privacy. My mother was a card carrying member of the American Civil Liberties Union. This of course was in the days before cell phones but I had a hard time with my children’s cell phones. I had several friends that had no problem with reading their children’s texts to others. My skin crawled everytime I considered it. 

So this weekend, my husband and I were hoping to be able to go over and see our granddaughter- not necessarily spending a lot of time there but at least being able to love on her and visit briefly. 

Every time we texted to inquire how she was, we got a response quickly very short but informative seemingly closing the door on any further communication. So we puttered around the house and did our own thing. I cannot say that it didn’t hurt my feelings and I began to obsess about exactly what I could have done to engender any hostile feelings from my daughter. 

I began to analyze everything that I have done for the last few weeks concerning my daughter and my grandchildren. And I never fare well in those mind dramas. I always seem to lose perspective after that with my imagination working harder than my common sense. 

So on Monday when my daughter texted me and told me how sad she was that we had not been over to see my granddaughter, my first reaction was relief that I had not done something to harm our relationship.

I was able to talk to my daughter and explain to her that we had waited for an invitation that never came and she had the good sense to apologize. 

I think the reason that it matters to me is that somehow there seems to be a gap in our communications. I can say what I need to say but I cannot control what others hear. 

There are many things that I want my children to know. I want them to know that they are loved and valuable. I want them to know that it was a joy and an honor to be the parent in their lives. I want them to carry with them in their hearts our family stories and the treasure of our love.  

I want them to hold onto those feelings especially when we are long gone because that will be when it will feel most lacking. 

My parents loved me and though I may not have acknowledged the depth of their love and its manifestation, I see it most evidently now. And I miss the joy and love and humor that they shared. 

So the irony is that we have these wonderful hand held computers which enable us to communicate so much more frequently but yet, communication is so much more than a rapid regular exchange of words. Which may make the written word even more valuable than it ever has been. And pray that there are still people left that will read them. 

And all I can do is continue to try and say things the best way that I know how.

I misunderstood

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