“What, what, what happened? Did you get hurt?,” I said eagerly with a worried plea (as I felt the tension in my back start to resurface.)
“No I didn’t get hurt. A just broke up with me via text message,” said my daughter A.
“What, what, what,” I wasn’t sure I heard correctly what she was saying. How could such a thing have happened to my beautiful, successful, talented, fantastic daughter A?
I tried to give her good advice. But, after all my years of experience, I guess my 50 year old advice was not good enough for my shocked and broken hearted twenty-something daughter A. No, my motherly advice was not something she wanted to hear. I should have known better than to say, ‘you must be strong,’ ‘you will get over this,’ ‘he is immature,’ ‘you deserve better and you will find someone better.’
As I hung up the phone many times over the weekend, trying to console her and make her feel better, I realized that 30+ years of experience doesn’t count when you are trying to talk to an inexperienced person who is deeply ‘in love’ and has just had her heart broken.
Afterwards, I thought about when I was twenty-something and about my first true love T. T was a graphic artist, and I was starting out my career in the big city…just like my daughter A. Life was so wonderful until T broke my heart. And then I let him break it again and again. I knew he wasn’t the right person for me, but I was deeply, I was madly, I was soooooo ‘in love’ with T (or so I thought.) Months later, I went on to meet an even better guy M, who eventually became my loving husband (for the next 24 years).
“Don’t you remember when B broke up with me when I was twenty-something?” said my sister N as I asked for what good advice I could give my daughter A. “I wanted to jump off the NY Circle Line boat tour…jump right off…don’t you remember?” It was almost 30 years ago, how could my 50 year old brain remember that awful day?
“Don’t you know how terrible I felt after M and I broke up when I was twenty-something?” said my girlfriend L. “Don’t you remember when I first told you about the M breakup?”
“We used to commiserate at my sorority all the time after twenty-something sorority-frat guy breakups,” said my girlfriend R, “All the time, all the time.”
I guess there is nothing good to say after a twenty-something’s heart has been broken. Not during the 70s or 80s or 90s or even now. There’s nothing good to say to console a young lovelorn that will take away the pain.
Next time my daughter calls with such news, I will tell her to have a good cry, to go buy a big bag of peanut M&M’s (or if you are inviting your mother over to cry with you, then buy a box of her favorite Junior Mints or York Peppermint Patties), to rent some good chick flicks (perhaps Bridget Jones Diary or Twilight) and invite your best girlfriends over to watch them with you.
Finally, remember that 30 years from now, when you are my age, you will look back on this breakup and laugh (yes, laugh). In fact, you may or may not even remember boyfriend A’s name (unless you do get back together and end up marrying him.) Yes, 30 years from now when perhaps your twenty-something daughter calls you about her text breakup, you’ll know exactly what to tell her. If not, google ‘broken hearts’ and you will find a whole bunch of quotes to say.