My friend ( the lawyer) told me to shut up and I am still a bit shaken.
It is the same guy who told me that I am an awesome mother, so when he told me to shut up, it really affected me.
A bit of history. My mother loves maidenhair fern and during a trip to Ikea, I found drinking glasses with maidenhair fern design and bought them. Yaya broke the 5th one when my friend was home and looked visibly upset. I have never scolded my children for breaking something and don’t see the need for them to be terrified of something so trivial.
I told her ” Yaya, the 6th one will be very sad without its mama and papa and brothers and sisters, so you should break it too” Obviously my comments cracked her up and she was back to her cheerful self and helped me clean up the mess. My friend told me : “you really are an awesome mother” and my head grew few sizes big.
For dinner, I decided to make Russian cabbage rolls ( another one of my son’s favourite food ). But before that, I was already annoyed with my son. His room was a mess and he didn’t rinse the plates and cups and put in the dish washer, instead he just chucked everything in the sink. He also left his shoes in the hallway and I almost tripped on it. I didn’t want to go after my son in front of my friend and lose my halo.
When dinner was served, my son saw that I made cabbage roll, he came and hugged me and said ” Mom, thank you for always making something nice for dinner, I really appreciate it”
For which, I with a halo replied ” No, you don’t, you left the dirty dishes in the sink, you left your shoes in the hallway, you room is a mess, you don’t care how much I struggle” and so it went.
Then I head these words ” shut up Sarah, you really don’t know how to take a compliment”
There was only one word to describe my feeling at the moment. ‘stunned’, No one has ever told me to ‘shut up’
And I realized what my friend said is really true. I think years of living in India where you are taught to be a fake when it comes to compliments is still ingrained in me. I remember wearing a new saree and a friend asked “is it new” my answer was ” No, it is very old” or if someone tells me ” you look gorgeous” the answer was always “nah, you need new glasses”.
All I had to say to my son was” you are absolutely welcome” and perhaps I could have got a bit more mileage by adding “You mean the world to me and I enjoy cooking your favourite meal”
So like Gwyneth Paltrow, I am now consciously uncoupling my Indian “fake” responses to compliments.