Opening the Topic
"What's your secret?" Corine barked at Liri. "You have three grown kids, look half your age, and they give you no stress!"
Anita put down her cards and joined Corine; "Yes, tell us what you did to get back your life and what we didn't do right!"
Liri looked from Anita to Corine.
Poor Corine had just given the long version of how stressed her daughter's wedding made her. The job had been dumped in her lap, she had struggled and feeling overwhelmed, mentioned getting a wedding planner.
This caused her daughter to explode in anger and resulted in a painful split which Corine had not yet recovered from.
Anita was constantly on call. Although her children were adults, they demanded her time and decisions. She had virtually no life save when they had no use for her.
Liri quietly replied; "I raised my kids to be independent,"
"I encouraged them to make up their own minds. Never gave the easy answers. When they shared some experience with me I replied, "What do you think?"
"If I said that", Anita barked, "they'd go on a long tirade about how I didn't care about them, blah blah."
"Yes. That's what they do." Liri smiled, "and I say nothing. Eventually they get disgusted, and stalk away."
Anita and Corine exchanged stares, then back to Liri as she enlarged on the topic.
""My youngest, Laura, decided to be anti my pro when she was about eight years old. That is when she realized she'd never be me."
LIri was a well known professional. She had contacts in the top levels. She never mentioned any of this. Those who knew her, knew who she was, those who didn't know her took her as an average person.
Her daughter, Laura, who was not particularly academic, realizing she'd never become a professional, never be important turned inwards and focused on herself.
Laura saw the world ending at her nose, and what she thought, what she wanted, what she felt, was all there was.
Her view of reality didn't effect her mother. It so angered Laura that she couldn't hurt her mother, she decided to leave home, claiming she needed to be nearer her school.
Liri didn't try to stop her, and Laura left home at sixteen and moved in with her father's sister, Sharon.
Liri stopped by every so often, and Laura treated her as a pest. Which didn't bother Liri. Simply cut down her visits.
Anti to the Pro
I have always believed," Liri began, "that I have as much right to a happy life as anyone else. I have always believed my children were separate individuals with their own path."
"They leave you out of everything!" Corine indicated.
"Thankfully so," Liri smiled.
The women didn't expect Liri to respond in that way.
"Look Cory, you suffered the stress of trying to plan a wedding. I didn't. I knew my kids would never ask me for anything, they'd do it themselves." and she smiled.
Laura's wedding was one of the worst any had attended. It took place at one of those all inclusive hotels in which guests are living their lives, enjoying their vacation, while a marriage ceremony was taking place.
No one can forget some boy shouting, "Throw the ball!" when the pastor asked Sam if he took Laura to be his lawfully wedded wife.
Liri smiled, "Laura said, when I advised her of the disruptive nature of the all inclusive, "I want my wedding the way I want my wedding!" so I said nothing more,"
Liri had to chuckle.
The others recall how the 'wedding dinner' took place at the Tex-Mex joint because the better restaurants were already booked.
It was very funny, in retrospect, though probably Laura was angry at her mother for not 'talking her out' of the all inclusive.
Bit of Back Story
"When I was about twelve I overheard my mother talking to her friends about one of her circle who was absent. Mom said; "Doesn't Zelda realize that anything she suggests, Helen will do the opposite?"
"Now that struck me like lightening. I hadn't noticed it, and was impressed my mother had. With that in the front of my mind, I saw through Laura as if she was glass. I realized, that I was the 'Zelda' in the story and Laura was the 'Helen'. Whatever I suggested, Laura would do the opposite. So you see the 'weapon' I was given."
Liri paused to let the reality slip in.
"I retired a few years ago, as you all know. Last year, Laura announced she was going to open a business. For a moment I was unsteady, thinking she'd ask me to help her. I suggested she open it in this city. As is common for Laura, she'd pick another. Far away. Hence, she couldn't expect me to be involved."
The women nodded.
"Now, of course she doesn't share anything with me, but others have told me how the business nearly tanked, how everyone and their puppy ripped Laura off. Of course, I know nothing about it," Liri said, pasting an innocent look on her face.
"If I hadn't suggested this city, she might have chosen it herself and then my peace, my freedom, my life would be swallowed. Ahh! The joy of having a kid who will always take the anti of my pro!"
When Anita and Corine left Liri's house they had a lot to think about.
Corine couldn't help but reflect on how easily Liri got out of being involved in her daughter's wedding.
Anita, who was at the center of the storm between her children wished she'd learned Liri's lesson decades ago. Nearly every day one of them called her to complain, beg, want her to solve this issue or that one.
Liri was free, she had her own life, her own likes, and no one to answer to. And none of her children would ever demand her time or assistance.
None of Liri's children would ever seek to absorb her life.