By that time I was married, and we had a house in Dallas. Mom was visiting us.
We were all in the kitchen having breakfast. Mom was at the table, drinking orange juice. I was at the stove, probably cooking eggs or pancakes or something — I know I had my hands full. So I am not sure whether my husband was seated or standing.
I heard my mother say, “This orange juice is delicious.” Either I heard her put down the empty glass, or I looked over to see. Either way, I knew she had just finished the glass of juice that she had.
I heard my husband say, “I’m glad you like it.”
A few seconds’ pause.
Then, almost as if it were someone else speaking, I heard the words come out of my mouth, explaining to my husband, “That means she wants you to get her some more.”
Another few seconds’ pause, while he looked at me in surprise, then at my mother. Finally he asked — in a tone that I recognized as one where he wasn’t sure what the rules were now, feeling his way, learning — “Would you like some more orange juice?”
My mother said, “Oh, yes, that would be nice,” as if I hadn’t spoken.
As if I hadn’t just begun training my own husband that what he was supposed to be doing all the time was to interpret her seemingly innocuous remarks, figure out what she wanted, and provide it.
In this case, she wanted to be waited on hand and foot. She wanted someone else to take care of getting what she wanted. It’s not like she wasn’t capable of getting her ass up from the table and walking the length of the kitchen to get to the refrigerator. She just didn’t want to, BUT SHE STILL WANTED THAT JUICE.
And she couldn’t just ask for it: “Would you mind getting me another glass of juice, please?” Simple enough. But that carries the risk of giving the other person agency, a choice in the matter, a decision about whether they will agree, or say “no”.
The solution? Manipulate your daughter into doing it, or get her to start training her own husband to do it.