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51 Birch Street

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"A lively, controversial but finally deeply compassionate portrait of an ordinary extraordinary woman"

– Ann Hornaday, WASHINGTON POST

Philip Armand (age 29)

Not too long ago my mother confided in me that she is afraid of being alone, the reason for her 11 year relationship to a man she isn’t very fond of.  Her feelings towards her boyfriend were not the revealing part of the conversation, her way of being around him had already betrayed her, it was the fact that my mother was allowing herself to be open and vulnerable in the conversation.  I made up my mind at a young age that my mother could do anything and was afraid of nothing, as far as I was concerned the woman was a Bulletproof Super-Hero, this conversation did not jive with that notion.

Nothing was resolved that day (my mother is still in that relationship) but, something new was created in the space of that conversation.  We now have a friendship in which being open and vulnerable is acceptable, coming from both directions.  As a son my mother was, and often is, the person I turn to vent and seek comfort, in her openness she exposed herself as a person with worries and concerns (something I had never considered).  Now in conversation I can provide the space for her to be heard without judgment and provide a listening filled with love and generosity.  I have traded in a Bulletproof, Super-Hero for a best friend; I would have it no other way.

Comments

Philip, funny how we never consider our parents as people with worries an concerns.  And my guess is that my 16-year old daughter hardly ever thinks about me that way, either.  (News flash if she ends up reading this: I do!)

Thanks for sharing this, and for being among the first to do it here.

Doug


By: Doug Block, on May 16, 2006

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