(Ep. 4) The Long Game with Kathie – Part 2

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In Part 2 of “The Long Game,” Kathie elaborates on her big-picture view of motherhood then vs. now, and we explore the unhealthy shift in family hierarchy, extreme lengths we go to for happy memories, school choice pitfalls, and the importance of failing.

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Brandy:                   Thank you for joining us today for part two with Kathie, one of my dear friends who is a mother of seven, grandmother of even more, and who loves to swear. Today we will get back into the differences between motherhood then and now, we hear why she’s relieved she’s not wrangling children today, we discuss how modern kids have shifted position in the family hierarchy, and then Kathie tells us an outrageous story about what she once did to make happy memories for her seven kids (that I think none of us today would even consider doing).

Brandy:                   So we’re back here again with Kathie Neff who had so many interesting things to say that we couldn’t put it all in one episode.

Kathie:                    Hello again. I think it’s important for the listeners to know that I am, I’m what I call a motherless child, that I grew up really without a mother. There’s a lot of things that come with that when you’re talking about motherhood. If you have not been mothered well. I have a lot of self-doubt about deciding this or that or figuring out how to manage and wrangle my kids. But I just think it was different things cause you know, we talk about the frustrations and I read what mothers are struggling with today. But I do know that modern motherhood is hard. It is hard and there is no getting around that. It’s hard. But I feel like it was hard in different ways then.

Brandy:                   So how, what was different?

Kathie:                    We didn’t know enough to be worried about a lot of the things that mothers are worried about today.

Brandy:                   Right.

Kathie:                    So mothers today are, well our whole society’s more informed today than it was back then.

Brandy:                   Now that we know more information we’re questioning everything.

Kathie:                    Yeah. And part of that is technology, which we did not have a lot of. I don’t know. It’s just I don’t want it to sound like I didn’t struggle cause I did. Yeah. But I did not struggle with the time it took to give to my children because I didn’t really have enough of an evolved sense of self to be resentful about it. That probably came a little bit later.

Brandy:                   And that’s part of the conversation too, about who you were before –

Kathie:                    Exactly. Just like you said.

Brandy:                   – before you have kids. If you’re an independent person who has lots of ideas and things going on and then you have kids, it’s, it’s startling. But if you didn’t know who you were yet and knew what you were passionate about yet, kids could be that thing. So you have somebody who has – and you’re similar – has a thousand ideas and not enough time, and then you give that person kids. Yeah. And they’re like, well, no, I really don’t have time, but I still have the thousand ideas.

Kathie:                    Yeah, yeah, yeah. So it’s almost like the order that things come in.

Brandy:                   Exactly.

Kathie:                    But I did come to a place of being able to put my ideas into actions in a variety of different ways. I got a babysitter. I remember thinking that I am being a model to my children that their personal interests and what they care about are important. And also I discovered that if I went away for a little while I came back refreshed. If I was doing something non-kid that when I came back I had more energy.

Brandy:                   How long did that energy last for you? Because I’ll tell you two nights ago I went with two of my friends and I, we get a hotel room quite often and we check in at about three immediately put on our pajamas and get in bed and watch TV and get room service, and it’s amazing. And then as my friend pulled up to drop me off the other day afterwards I said, “So how long do you think it will be before I’m frustrated again?” So it’s true that the consistent recharging and doing these things and modeling for your kids about having your own space is a wonderful thing and I think necessary. But how long did you personally find the refueling made you more patient? Like the minute you walk in and kids are asking you for food – although it sounds like your kids never needed snacks – which is amazing. But did you find that doing those things really gave you, what was it like a slow burn of patience that you had when you returned home? Or was it pretty quickly you got home and it was all undone when you walked in the house?

Kathie:                    Well, it was easier for long enough. I’m not the kind of person that delineates that. I just don’t, my brain doesn’t work that way. I wish it did. I felt it tangibly, and then when it started to wear low, I would need another inoculation.

Brandy:                   That’s the thing, and I feel like the younger your kids are, the more of those you need.

Kathie:                    Absolutely.

Brandy:                   The more of those shots that you need. Whereas when they get older and the needs are a little bit less intense, you go away and there’s definitely times now when I go away and I come back and I’m just excited to be with them and it lasts longer. But man, I remember when they were younger, when there were naps to be gotten and all of those things when you come home and it’s like almost sometimes how everything waited for you. It was like none of the things that you would normally be getting done with the babysitter do or maybe your husband. So when you come home it’s like you have double the work. It’s the work of the last hour plus the work of the present moment. So I think it’s also about being smart about when you leave and take the time, you got to have somebody doing your job while you’re gone so it doesn’t pile up. See, strategies.

Brandy:                   That’s what’s amazing to me is I never realized about motherhood, how many strategies one would have in place for everything. And maybe that’s just the way my brain works. Cause I’m always trying to make everything the most stress free, which is a little bit ironic, right? But you know, when you have small kids, there’s kind of a way to do everything that gives you more sanity. But you have to think about it beforehand. Like when you’re going somewhere, and maybe you didn’t do this, but I know me and every other mom I know, you have to have snacks with you.

Kathie:                    (laughing at Brandy’s misery)

Brandy:                   See? How did you not live that life? Maybe it’s that your kids didn’t grow up with it so they didn’t expect it, but like…

Kathie:                    I’m sure I had something. We had bags of Cheerios or something.

Brandy:                   When we go to the park, every mom has a fucking like mountain backpack. And in that thing is like snacks for days.

Kathie:                    That’s amazing.

Brandy:                   And so many of the people have all these super healthy things that it’s like we’ve got dried mangoes and almonds, you know? So it’s not even just fill it with whatever shit you can find. It’s the thoughtfulness of motherhood now. I don’t know that it’s healthy.

Kathie:                    When I was a little girl, the family would go to Griffith Park and these mothers prepared a whole breakfast on the barbecues at Griffith Park. Okay. I did that once and it was like, how in the world did they even do this? Maybe it’s random, I don’t know.

Brandy:                   It might be, although, and maybe it’s a personality thing or a generational thing, but your fun level is just above and beyond most of the moms that I know. There was a story that you told, there were a bunch of us women at your house for a fire ceremony, which is one of the things that we love to do, which what does your husband call it?

Kathie:                    Howlin’ at the moon!

Brandy:                   Where a bunch of us women get together and we do a meaningful ritual and then talk and cry about life –

Kathie:                    You know, the normal.

Brandy:                   You know, what everybody else is doing. But I remember you said something and I don’t even remember what context it was – a bunch of other newish moms or had young kids and you told us the story about going to get donuts. Will you tell us that story? And we were all just, our jaws dropped. We were like we would never consider doing this.

Kathie:                    This was the piece of the child in me that – I think the child in me is still really strong. I don’t know what that is about archetypes because I can go there quickly, in a second. But anyway, I don’t know why the idea came into my head, but I know that I did have a strong feeling of responsibility to give happy memories to my children and to me a happy memory can be something outrageous. So one day after consulting with my husband and telling him what we were going to do, we woke up the kids at about – I want to say about three or four in the morning.

Brandy:                   Okay, stop. This is where already this is like every person listening to this is like, why would you wake up – and this is seven kids. This isn’t even just one kid. Why would you wake up kids in the middle of the night? Okay, keep going.

Kathie:                    Because we were going to make a happy memory. And so I got it in my head – you are guilty of this too, Brandy, you have an idea a minute, and I have an idea a minute. We’re trouble when we’re together.

Brandy:                   That’s right. Yes.

Kathie:                    So I got this idea that we would wake the kids up, we would have them come into the car in their pajamas and then we would drive to the beach and watch the sun come up. And that’s exactly what we did. We just went into their rooms and said, “Come on, we’re going to go. We’re going to go on an adventure.”

Brandy:                   Oh my god.

Kathie:                    “Go potty.” And then this was when they didn’t have seatbelts, so we threw them all in the back of the car, folded all the seats down, threw them all back there, threw a bunch of blankets, threw a bunch of pillows and drove to the beach. And when we got to the beach, we ran to the swings and we were swinging while the sun came up. I don’t think they were even looking at the sun come up –

Brandy:                   Of course, That’s on point.

Kathie:                    But they were swinging on the swings and then we went and got donuts and then we drove home.

Brandy:                   That’s just, it’s just the most beautiful thing. This is where I feel like in modern parenthood, so many of us – and again, maybe I’m just speaking for myself, I know there’s other moms that think like me -but this fun element that doing it the right way or trying to mitigate the amount of crying… The first thing that would go through my mind is, “Okay, if I wake the kids up in the middle of the night, they’re probably going to be cranky and then we’re going to put him in the car and then what if they have to go to the bathroom? But then the next day, do they nap? Well, what if they don’t nap? It’s like all of that sort of strategy stuff. And I love in that moment when you told us that story, it was like all of us were like, yeah, that’s more important actually, to let go of all of those strategies and have that beautiful moment.

Kathie:                    I mean, I don’t know if it was strategy free, but it was present moment. It wasn’t future. And there have been plenty of times that I’ve gotten in trouble from being present moment. I would be at school and talking to a mom in the parking lot waiting for the kids to come out. And I’d say, “Yeah, it’s pretty big project we have coming up on the 23rd,” and they said, “Yeah, tomorrow.” And I’m like, in my head, “TOMORROW??” But this is the brain that I live with.

Brandy:                   Right. And this is the difference between us, is that I’m in future mode so much of the time.

Kathie:                    Totally.

Brandy:                   And that’s one of the things I so appreciate about you is that present momentness, it’s so fun to dip into my child with you. And what I think is so interesting about it is because of our age gap, you would think it would be the other way around, but it’s not. And that’s one of the things that I just really, really love. And so you remind me about that side, which I have a huge child in myself. I feel like in this world I’m perpetually like a 15-year-old boy, sort of, in a way. So I have this child side too, but the tasks of motherhood get in the way of that for me. And so I think you bring a great reminder to have these fun, happy memories. It doesn’t matter what happens the next day with a nap. Your kids will remember how cool that was. That’s not really something my parents would have done either. So I just think you bring to it just a fun element that, you know, if we could ask ourselves: what’s one outrageous thing that I could do for my kids – do with my kids – this week? How fun would that be to come up with something super harebrained?

Kathie:                    So you go and you put a… do you have a tree?

Brandy:                   Um, somewhere in a park.

Kathie:                    Okay. So you bring a little fold-up table and then you put a can of shaving cream for each one.

Brandy:                   No. See, no.

Kathie:                    And then they make hairdos out of it. We had two big trees and I swear they spent most of the summer – good weather – outside, under the trees or in the trees. We have these good friends of mine who our kids grew up together and say, “Oh, I remember those trees.” And they just – imagination, childhood imagination. It’s like the free stuff. However, when we would go to certain friends’ houses and they had very good jobs and they had a lot of the best and the newest toys for their children, I always felt sorry for our kids then because we didn’t have that. We did not have the latest and the greatest. We did not have the whole Star Wars series with all the things. And, when we went to visit them, if we would go to dinner, we wouldn’t see them for hours because they were just like, “This is the best!” But then when kids came to our house, what they reported was that they were allowed to get dirty because that’s what we had. We had trees, we had dirt, mud, grass, dogs always. So the ones that didn’t have dogs in the house, they loved our dog and they were allowed to get dirty. In fact, we would tell them, “Don’t send them in something good.”

Brandy:                   I grew up with a really large backyard and played all sorts of things out there. And I look around, I mean where I live here in Southern California, we barely have a backyard. It’s like a pathway. But what we do have that is similar to what you’re talking about is we live on a col-de-sac where cars can’t park. And we have kids all on our street and so the kids will go out there and scoot around and play games and pretend. And that is one of my favorite things about watching their childhood is seeing that we have that. And I know there’s a lot of people that don’t have either of those, but I think having that space for imagination is so important. And I feel like it’s one of the things of modern parenting that lot of us who grew up living like that, doing cartwheels in our backyard, playing on our swing set – we are not parenting in the same way because of our constraints. But I’m not surprised to hear that the kids found such value in coming to your home. Cause it’s not about the things. Right? And I’m sure you were like the fun house –

Kathie:                    As soon as we got to junior high. Nobody came to our house after that.

Brandy:                   Why?

Kathie:                    We were too strict.

Brandy:                   Just with like having parental supervision?

Kathie:                    Yeah. Yeah. The boy girl thing.

Brandy:                   Oh yeah. People were looking for make-out dens and you weren’t providing them?

Kathie:                    Yeah, we weren’t providing them. I’m glad I’m not wrangling kids right now. Let me tell you, I love our kids, but there’s a time for that. And we were lucky that we were young because we had a lot of energy to keep up with them.

Brandy:                   Yeah, at seventeen?

Kathie:                    Yeah. And when they began leaving home, we still had energy.

Brandy:                   That’s right. Right.

Kathie:                    But by then I had a full time job, so I never ended up babysitting the grandkids totally. It just was logical that I wouldn’t be. And I’m not the grandma that has the kids all the time, but I’m happy when we do have them.

Brandy:                   Hmm. Modern mothers, you know, we sometimes we’ll find ourselves at Target and there’ll be a grandmotherly type that says to us, “Oh enjoy every minute. Those are the most precious moments of your life.” And I know for most of us we get the beautiful intention behind it. And yet, it’s annoying. And I always wonder, “Fuck, are they right??” And so I have to know that of course, when I’m their age, I’m going to look back on all these yummy kid moments and wish I could go back for a moment. I don’t think I would ever want to go back and do it all over again the whole time chunk that it takes, cause it’s not just a moment. And that’s what’s so tough is I feel like people see a little snippet and then they speak about the snippet, but they speak about it in a bigger way. And so I’m curious from your point of view, do you feel like, “Oh, I would go back and do it all over again?” What do you think about when people say those things to moms?

Kathie:                    It’s kind of 1950-ish. You know, where they romanticize everything. I have regrets. I would not want to go back and do everything over exactly the same. Although I could not bear to leave out any of the children now that I’ve met them all, you know, couldn’t bear it. It’s this idea of perfection, right? It’s like it’s not – perfection is not real. Intention is real. If I’m lucky about something with my family, it’s that they really get that our intentions have always been good. You know? I have failed them in many ways, as my husband has, as we have failed each other. But there’s something about the failing that is important too. And so that’s why I think it would be silly to go back and try to right every single thing because what would it be for? It would be for the pride of saying we did it correctly, or we did everything “right.” You know, we didn’t, because we’re humans. We lost our temper. Sometimes I zoned out. If I was going through something, they probably watched too much TV or… But it’s an imperfect life. So you just, you do your best.

Brandy:                   That’s part of being human.

Kathie:                    Exactly.

Brandy:                   There’s no other way.

Kathie:                    The one thing that I did that my parents did not, I apologize if I make a mistake. I apologize to my kids and I am sincere, you know? And so that’s why I say I think if I were to interview them and ask them about my intentions, I think they would say that my intention was always positive.

Brandy:                   So at the beginning when I said, “You’re out of the trenches of motherhood,” and you gave me that response, what does motherhood look like now, when you have grown children who are in their 40’s-ish, and you have grandchildren? What are you doing now as a mother?

Kathie:                    It’s wonderful and terrible. Just like life. They’re always your babies. I mean, as I look at this grownup person who’s taller than me and it’s my baby. It’s still my baby. And so I want to keep them from harm, but I am unable to keep them from harm. It is not possible. Between whatever they decide is right at the time, which I know what it’s like to think something is absolutely right and then figure out it was totally fucking wrong. So I have like my whole life that I’ve lived, I know those traps, and then I also know life and life throws stuff at us.

Brandy:                   So it’s that feeling like when they’re younger, kind of what you’re saying is you could pick somebody up and take them somewhere…

Kathie:                    To safety, pretty much.

Brandy:                   So you’re in this smaller bubble where you can control some of the safety things. But now and especially when they’re older, the things that they’re doing, like there’s no protecting them from anything.

Kathie:                    Exactly. And if they would listen, which they don’t cause we’ve raised them to be very independent and to follow their own counsel – I don’t know why we did that.

Brandy:                   (laughter)

Kathie:                    But, even if they wanted to know what to do, I could not anywhere tell them what to do because it’s all a crapshoot. The things I’m trying to figure out still are a crapshoot.

Brandy:                   Right. So logistically, what does it look like for you? Do you have kids calling you every single day? Do you talk to kids once a week?

Kathie:                    Nothing works on a recipe, like a spreadsheet or for sure.

Brandy:                   Dammit, Kathie. I want the tidy…

Kathie:                    On Sunday I saw three of my kids in person and talked to two of them by the phone, which is five out of seven. That was a really good day. But it’s not the common, and I have a friend of mine – her daughter calls her every single day – I was like every single day?? I was like really? I mean this is in my head, I’m not saying it to her. And as far as seeking advice, these kids have this little network and they go to each other first. And then there’s this saying that gets repeated to me once in a while – “You need talk to mom.” So I’m like the last resort or something.

Brandy:                   That’s genius. That’s sort of, in a sense, why you have multiple kids is they take some of the weight off of you. Like you guys can all nurture each other and then come to me if that’s not good enough. But I mean that’s what I look at your family and I wish I grew up in a family like that. I always wanted to have a family that just had the possibility for connection in a lot of different places and that sort of like that community. I mean, family, really.

Kathie:                    It’s colorful, also.

Brandy:                   Yeah, I’m sure.

Kathie:                    Cause they all have their own opinions and sometimes they’re trying to boss each other around. That never goes good.

Brandy:                   They’re still bossing each other around at 40?

Kathie:                    Oh yeah. It’s subtle. And then sometimes not so subtle if there’s a little emergency of sorts, but it’s usually mostly cordial and then comes back round to that forgiveness piece. I wrote an article on Facebook, the day before yesterday and it was intended as medicine for my son because right now some difficult things are happening personally. And in the midst of that, he has this big dream and I apologized to him, actually on the phone, I said, “I’m sorry that the dreamer part of me – I think I maybe passed it onto you in my genes.” Because it’s a hard road to hoe to really put yourself out there with a dream. Anybody who has ever dreamed knows that and you’re continually being misunderstood and sometimes judged, you know. But I just talked to this son on Sunday for a long time and I said, “I get it, take care of yourself, but I really get it, what you’re trying to do, I recognize it.”

Brandy:                   How lucky he is to have you be able to see him. I’m always really moved by parents who can see their kids for who they really, really are and not just a construct of what they want them to be.

Kathie:                    I think there have been people in my life who have done that for me. I was told once by nun, when I was trying to work out all this motherhood thing for 30 years, she said…

Brandy:                   Wait a minute, go back to that, when you were “trying to work out this motherhood thing for 30 years.” I feel like that right there is the thing that we all needed to hear is that it’s a thing that you try to work out for 30 years. Okay, keep going. Just wanted to point that out.

Kathie:                    She said, “I just want to remind you that what you need does not always come from the place you expect it to.” And so I didn’t have a mother figure, but what her words gave me was a new opening of my eyes to find it in other places, and so much of what I have tried to pass onto my children did not come in the linear form. It didn’t come from at least where I thought it would come from. Each mother, the most important task they have is to mother themselves. You got to steal yourself.

Brandy:                   Yeah. The self-care thing. Was that a thing back when you were mothering small children? Was it called self-care?

Brandy:                   I’m trying to think…

Kathie:                    I feel like what we call self-care now was just normal parenting back then. You know you can go play tennis, leave your kids at home, you can have a couple of drinks, you can go smoke with your friends. All of these things the parents did back then that they were taking me-time, but it wasn’t like, oh, she’s self-caring. No, she’s just being my fucking mom.

Kathie:                    Yeah. I don’t think it was called self-care and I’m not sure even if it was self-care, some of those things. Because there was clearly a hierarchy and the children were in the pit. I mean the children were the pit. That’s what turned around – when that whole generation of children grow up, they were the ones that said, “Oh no, we’re going to handle our children differently.”

Brandy:                   This is groundbreaking. This line of thinking is – we’ve gone from both ends. I definitely know that I felt that way, not because my parents weren’t awesome and didn’t provide for me, but we fit into their life, and so now we’ve swung the complete other way where every – it’s to the point where every word you say to your kid has to be managed. Not that people actually do that, but the articles you read, everything that’s coming out is like, oh well don’t ever say this to your kid. So it’s like everything is so micromanaged. When back then we weren’t even considered.

Kathie:                    Every word feels very weighty.

Brandy:                   Yes. Like you’re going to mess your kid up if you say that. One of the things that I know is when I went to elementary school, we went to the elementary school that was in our neighborhood, there was no question about it. So now when I have kids, I’m researching all the different schools. I go on tours of all of them. I learned this when we lived in Colorado and I had a spreadsheet of all the different things so that I could come and make us this really thoughtful decision. Well, what kind of learner is my son and what kind of environment does this provide? And then I could choose which school would fit that. And I just had to laugh because I thought my parents never, never thought about what kind of learner I was. I mean, sometimes I didn’t even think they really knew who I was, but to go a step further and, “Well, how does she learn, is she auditory, is she kinesthetic?” Like what is happening? So I did that one time and then when we moved here it was like we’re going to the school that we live near. So it’s funny that we go to all these lengths to mitigate some of the trauma or neglect – I feel like parenting in the 70s today would be considered neglectful – but so it doesn’t mean that we need to go this whole other way now. But I feel like we’re all in this place of like, “But what do we need to do?”

Kathie:                    What do we do?

Brandy:                   What do we do? How do we do it?

Kathie:                    I’m no expert, but you can be guaranteed that you’re going to make mistakes and to be present and own that which is yours, and apologize if it was from you – it’s wonderful medicine and there’s not enough of it in the world. I think your statement is really important – “Well when we moved here, we’re going to go to school in the area. That’s it.” In a way that’s saying there’s going to be some problems wherever you are.

Brandy:                   Right. That’s the thing. At the end of the day, no matter if you make the perfect choice, the humans are still involved. We’re all a part of this, so there’s going to be flaws everywhere. This overthinking, which I think is a part of this era of parenting, it’s just going to be so funny in a really dark way when our kids are older, what are their neuroses? And it’s probably going to be from being placed too high because we’re so thoughtful about them.

Kathie:                    It’s hard to say, but I will say that at one time I wanted the kids to go to Catholic school because I was moved around to a lot of different schools, and I wanted them to have what I thought was going to be the safeguard of them in life – that was the missing piece. When we had our seven kids in Catholic school, it was more than our house payment.

Brandy:                   God, I can’t even imagine.

Kathie:                    And at the end of the first two’s high school, they came and they sat down with this and they said, “Mom and Dad,” – because it was time for the little ones to start moving that way – “I know what you thought you were giving to us, but it’s really not there. So I just want to let you know, you should probably skip it with the rest of them.”

Brandy:                   Oh my god.

Kathie:                    I mean, you talk about an eye opener, like “What??” And so the rest of the story is the next five all went to public school. They had the benefit of amazing plays in the theater group. They joined band. We heard them. We heard them.

Brandy:                   I’m amazed that your kids could articulate that and thought that it was important enough to articulate and so sweet. They were looking out for…

Kathie:                    They were looking out for their brothers and sisters.

Brandy:                   That’s beautiful and I love that it aligns with you not having to spend that money. My really frugal side was like they just saved you thousands of dollars.

Brandy:                   I know you’ve given us some great tidbits here and some great wisdom that I’m so grateful for, so thank you for coming and being open and having this conversation. I’m sure – this is how you and I work – I’m sure the second you leave my house, I’m going to have a WhatsApp message from you – “Oh, the thing we forgot to say…” That’s what we do. We go sit for three hours and a have our delicious lunch at our favorite place together and then we get in the car and we WhatsApp other. Is there anything that you would tell other moms out there who are struggling with the intensity of having small children who are trying to do their best and sometimes not remembering that they really are doing their best? What sort of lovely Kathie-isms or Kathie words would you have for them?

Kathie:                    Well, I would say be on your own side. Factor yourself in when you’re making your list of failures, you know, factor yourself in about how hard it can get trying to help humans who sometimes don’t want to be helped. And as far as the future, which I think most of us – that’s where worry it seems like calls us to is the future – I think it was important that at some point we said to our kids, “You know, there’s nothing that you can ever do that will make us not love you. Nothing.” They’ve tested us on that a little bit, but I think that love and forgiveness keeps us going. And it’s not a thing that you do once, you do it over and over and over, but it’s a safe place for kids to grow up. It’s safer than good snacks. It’s safer than, you know, whatever it was I thought I was saving them from during that phase of my mothering. But I guess I don’t mean that to say that there’s not consequences because there are. But seeing them through the consequences, not making them exceptions to the consequences, that’s love too. They will fail and we fail.

Brandy:                   That forgiveness piece is really to me, the antidote of trying to get it right. It’s been a tough one for me personally in my life. I didn’t know how to apologize until I married my husband. I didn’t grow up in a family where anybody apologized for anything. But you don’t know that when you’re growing up. Right? And then you get into a relationship with somebody and you are an asshole for a moment or do something, and then – I legitimately did not know how to apologize. It was not in my bones at all. And so I loved my husband who wasn’t my husband at the time, cause we dated for nine years. He helped me feel safe enough to apologize to be able to say those words and not feel ashamed and a bad person. That can be a tricky thing for people who didn’t grow up with that modeling and I was lucky enough to have a really wonderful husband who could teach me that and knew that. But you know, what if you get two people together who both didn’t know how to say I’m sorry when they were jerks? And I notice with my kids, that’s one of the things, I want to always make sure that I apologize to them so that they know how. But the other night my son was trying to tell me something and it had just been a day. I could tell that I was zoning out and then that later that night my husband says to me, “Oh my god, your face when he was trying to tell you about that thing, it was just hilarious.” But I felt bad. I felt like the only choice is to the next day say, “Hey, last night when you were trying to tell me about that thing, I was probably pretty checked out and I just want you to know I’m sorry, and also that had nothing to do with you. That was about my day.” That for me has been one of the big things – letting my kids know what’s them and what’s me, and most of the time it’s me. There’s sometimes it’s them when they’re super shitty for whatever reason, but you’re spot on about the forgiveness piece and I think that it undoes some of the trauma that we’re worried about doing to our children.

Kathie:                    They say that when the tension is there and is not dealt with that they breathe it in as if it’s their fault.

Brandy:                   I think I remember feeling like that as a child. I think I could remember that.

Kathie:                    I did too. So when things are not talked about, it’s like the default is, “Oh, what did I do? What have I done?”

Brandy:                   Yeah, that’s an important distinction to make.

Brandy:                   Oh, thank you, again. You are just seriously the best person. I know.

Kathie:                    Oh, wow. You’re so sweet.

Brandy:                   I mean, you just are. You’re the best and I’m so glad our paths crossed when they did. And I thank you for coming on here and sharing all that you did. So you’ll definitely be back. I’m like, we’ve scratched the surface here today.

Kathie:                    I know, she’s all, “I can’t wait to turn this machine off cause I’m going to ask you about that thing.”

Brandy:                   I know, right? I need to know more. Yeah, there’s a couple of things I need to know.

Kathie:                    There’s a couple things.

Kathie:                    Alright –

Kathie:                    Thank you, Brandy. Love you.

Brandy:                   Yeah. Thank you, my friend. Love you too.

Brandy:                   Thank you everybody for listening, for your support, for sharing, for being into this podcast the way that I’m into this podcast, for supporting me on Patreon financially. I mean, it’s amazing – for all the awesomeness that you are and for helping me find this thing that I love to do and for receiving it. I’m a sarcastic, cynical, dark and twisty person, but I’m also possibly moved to tears. Thank you guys. Okay. I’m not going to like cry at the end every time. I promise you.

** As always, thank you to Scott Weigel and his band, Seahorse Moon, for providing me with that jaunty intro and outro music. You guy are awesome. Check ’em out on iTunes.