Parenting the Parent

Annie Allender Robbins and Amanda Christian join their dad, Dan Allender, for a personal and profound dialogue about how they were raised, how that shaped them, and the work that they have done as adults to discover a new width of freedom to be who they really are. Dan also reflects on the healing he has found as a parent, and now a grandparent, through his relationship with his children.

About our guests:

Annie Allender Robbins is a Washington State Licensed Acupuncturist. She graduated in 2003 with a Master’s of Acupuncture from the Academy for Five Element Acupuncture in Hallandale, FL. She is nationally certified by the National Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) as a Diplomate in Acupuncture. Prior to acupuncture school, Annie received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Colorado. Outside of her practice, Annie stays busy with her two boys, Cole and Van and her husband, Driscoll. She loves exercise and being outdoors with friends and family and is passionate about traveling as much of the world as she can with her family.

Amanda Christian is a doctorally trained nurse practitioner who has spent the last 15 years working with cancer patients. She recently moved to Los Angeles, California with her husband Jeff and two daughters, Grace and Parker. Everyone is enjoying seeing the Sun more except for 2-year-old Parker who has commented: “Sun always there. That’s weird.” Amanda is an Earth sign in Chinese medicine, Enneagram 9, a Scorpio without any awareness of what that means, and unfortunately for podcast listeners, a bit of a rambler. 


Episode Transcript:

Dan: Always, I enjoy the guests that I have the privilege of interacting with, but this day even more so. But I also have to confess there is at least a little inkling of trepidation as I introduce to the audience, you, my two daughters, Annie Robbins and Amanda Christian. Girls. Thank you for joining me on this podcast. So let me set the parameters. You can say whatever you wish but you do know that you have to still deal with me at least for a number of years, more so I just wanted to create that little bit of warning. Other than that, what we want to focus on is the adult children-parent relationship and what’s involved in growing that relationship in a way in which there’s always an evolution in parenting, always a process by which the parenting you did two or three years ago generally isn’t the parenting that you’ll do today. And so the privilege of having two of my children, I thought it might be even more complicated to have Andrew, but maybe we’ll have Andrew at another point in time to invite you both into the conversation what’s involved in growing the adult parent-child relationship. Before we do that, I think it would be delightful to hear from both of you a little bit about who you are. Our audience has heard me speak about both of you, but I think it would be good to introduce yourself, tell the folks whatever you would like, and then I’ll add whatever you don’t.

Annie: No. Well, should I go first, Amanda? As the eldest? Yeah. It’s funny when you even introduce me as Annie Robbins, I think of myself as Annie Allender Robbins. I don’t ever just go by that, but I am the oldest, 42, mom of two boys now, just turned 12 and 14. So I have two boys in middle school, which I think defines a lot of my life and a lot of how I’m thinking about things. And I’m entering the 20th year of private practice as a classical five element acupuncturist and have to give my parents a lot of credit for peaking my interest in this road and also have to give my dad a nod to what he said 20 years ago that I mostly work with trauma and it took me a while to own that. But I happily love and own saying that a lot of my work is around trauma and healing trauma through the body. And it’s been fun to share similar paths. Well, similar goals, different paths.

Dan: Yeah, that’s a beautiful way of putting it. And I can’t help but say you were at one point deeply adamant that you would never be a therapist, and in fact, you really are a therapist, but you get to use needles. And I’ve often felt a great deal of envy because there are a number of clients I would like to…

Annie: Wrong response. 

Dan: I won’t go any further. Yeah.

Annie: Yes, I was definitely a little therapist my entire life. Being raised by not only my dad, but a myriad of therapists going through the program as we called it. And I feel like my bedside reading was psychology books. And if it wasn’t for not wanting to follow exactly in your footprint steps, I’m sure I would’ve been a therapist, but this has been, I think I have it much better.

Dan: I do too.

Annie: I have more freedom.

Dan: I think in some ways.

Annie: I do.

Dan: Indeed. Indeed. I, I’ll say a bit more in a moment, but Amanda?

Amanda: Okay. I not the oldest. I am the classical middle child and try to create a lot of balance and peace between Annie and Andrew. And I feel like everything in my life is trying to just keep peace and happiness. And I have two girls who are three and seven and living in Los Angeles for the last year and a half now with my family and working for, I think it’s been now, I don’t know, I’m good knock doing math in my head, but 14 years in oncology now, and nine of them have been as a nurse practitioner working with bone marrow transplant. So lot of leukemias and lymphomas and people who are looking at these very life-threatening diseases. And I like what I do because I feel like it’s this really niche world where you get to have a lot of hope. There’s like potential cure with what we do, even though it’s not like the highest percentages you’d like it to be, but it’s still there. And I think I always like being in this world of hope.

Dan: Well, if I can say it both with immense pride, but also just fity here, you’re both healers you’re both the kind of people who passionately desire for other people to flourish and for goodness to be part of their lives. And I certainly have experienced that with both of you. And I know that that’s true with regard to you care for your clients, your patients, your friends, your spouse, your children. So as we jump into this conversation, and, I’ll wait and talk about the two of you at some point, but just to start by saying, when you think about what’s involved in growing a adult parent-child relationship, I’m curious as to just where that thought has taken you. We’ve had some conversations before, but still what’s involved for both of you in the process of being in a friendship as well as a parental relationship with your mother and father?

Annie: Well, it comes to mind to start a place that I hadn’t thought of before as you just stated, that we’re both healers, which I agree. We both are. So I think as you said that I was like, well, that’s it. That’s the biggest piece I feel like is working on your own, healing your own path. And at first, I was going to say letting go because I’m really aware of as I’m parenting a 14 year old versus a 12 year old, how much more I have to let go with the eighth grader versus the sixth grader. I feel like parenting is just this continual process of letting go as they get older. So I thought that’s what I was going to say. But now as you spoke, just the healing word, I actually think it’s doing your own healing and then taking responsibility for it in a different way then you did when you were in the house under someone’s control. And I don’t know, there wasn’t the freedom to take responsibility. There was the things that there are plenty of things that frustrated me or made me sad or things that I needed. And now I feel like in the adult relationship, it’s like it’s on me to take responsibility for healing those things.

Dan: ‘Manda?

Amanda: I feel very strongly at that too. I think that I am in this phase of my life where I really am trying to be more conscious and more alert to my own inner workings and self in the way that I impact relationships and ways that I am maybe not being as open and intentional with things. And I think as I try to, whether it’s just maturing or learning to understand myself better, that relays back into my relationship with you and mom, where learning, one, taking responsibility for the things that I need and also being very intentional about communicating that. So I don’t feel like this… I think it, it’s easy to be in the same house together on vacation or when we lived with you guys prior to moving to Los Angeles and feel like, oh, we’re together, but also not together. That time wasn’t necessarily always intentionally spent and learning to identify, oh, I have this hurt from sitting in the same room on our devices, rather than engaging and feeling like, I don’t like this, but no one else seems upset about it. And so I have to learn how to articulate. I really want to have intentional time, and that doesn’t happen unless I learn how to own that. So a lot of navigating our relationship, it’s just learning what are the things that I need and then learning to tell you guys that and not expect that you’re just going to know.

Dan: Well, the notion of intentionality. I love that because in some ways, it’s the very point of this whole podcast that is, in interacting with a number of my friends who have adult children, when I’ve broached the conversation with them about, what are you doing? And it’s like, I don’t know what you’re even talking about. And I’m saying, well, you obviously know you’re not a parent the way you were when they were living in your home. What’s happening with regard to either the difficulties or the assets to grow that relationship? And what I’m finding from two or three conversations, it’s just a foreign concept. Things are just normal. Things are just the way they are. And because we don’t get most of the time that much time together the idea of intentionality often just passes because, well, we’ve got to get dinner on the table, or we’ve got to get the kids off to some event, et cetera. So when you think about intentionality, where has that played out? And I’ll say as if I’m not the person, but it played out with me or with mom?

Amanda: Well, I mean, I think I can just speak because we were the most recent people to stay in your house for an extended period of time, of living in the same house and feeling like everyone’s going about their own lives because you are rich people with your own inner and external workings. And those take up a lot of space and then feeling like everyone’s moving around you without necessarily having that connection. And so I think I have a hard time with holding on to things rather than, and Annie has always been so good at in the moment speaking what she sees, and it takes me months to come and boils over in this really messy way where I’m like, I am lonely and why is no paying attention to me? And I think that was what happened. It was really close to before we left where I felt like we’re not spending any time. You guys are acting like we’re going to be here forever. And it, it’s a very finite time. We get to have these moments with each other, and I just want those moments to be good and memorable or messy and memorable, not just superficial. Yeah, yeah. I don’t want them to be passing.

Annie: I think listening to you now and in the past about your pain in that situation and how influenced we are by these young, younger parts of ourselves, as you’re talking about that theme of everyone being really busy and going, having these really full inner and outer lives, that’s been such a significant theme in all of our lives of Dr. Allender being out there saving the world, doing conferences for thousands of people and the number of people that would come up to us saying, your dad changed our life. It amazing. I’ve never seen you before. That’s great. And truly, that’s amazing. Wow. We we’re really proud of you and still are. But these younger parts of us were probably pretty lonely a lot of the time because you know, were gone. And Amanda was saying probably those younger parts for her, I know since I was her sister, were quiet about it and keeping the peace. And so some of her transformation now is letting them evolve and letting herself be a different version of herself and to speak up because that’s not something she did when she was younger.

Dan: That’s huge. To underscore that the person you were, you’re not. The person I was. I’m not. Yet. There’s enough overlap and similarity that the structures of presumption, we know each other, we know each other well, but in some ways you operate, I operate, everyone operates with a kind of prejudice, a bias, even if it’s implicit or unwitting or unconscious as to things can’t change, won’t change. And we all know that when you begin to engage things like this, there will be conflict. There will be some degree of heartache, of struggle, of putting words to things. So as you think about what you both are bringing to me, to your mom, what have you done to, in one sense bring the intentionality into practice to begin that process of not only engaging the younger parts, but engaging the person that I was and the person I am, and knowing that there isn’t I mean, there’s overlap, but there’s difference.

Annie: Okay. That’s like a multi-part question. Yes. I would say first for me, I mean, I feel like in the role that I’m in and the world that I’m in, I guess from a very privileged place, I’ve gotten to do a lot of my own growth and healing and well, there’s the first nature of how you come in. I was thinking about that. It’s like, I think letting, ok, I’m going to back up and say, one of the pieces you were saying is I think it’s easier to get into a pattern where you relate in kind of a linear nature, an old, this is me, this is you, this is how we do it. I don’t as much relate to the pain that you’re saying about bringing the new part in, but I think I’ve realized as I’ve gotten out in the world, there’s been so many more layers. And so going from linear to spherical, and yet you can go back into the world to the home and just kind of relate to bring in the safe usual parts. And I don’t know if I necessarily experience pain by bringing in new parts, but it takes maybe more effort, more consciousness of more conversation, more intentionality on my part. And sometimes there’s just a comfort in going back to the more linear connection that you had, because most of those pieces aren’t even necessarily bad. They’re just comfortable. So for me, it’s not so much pain and conflict as this effort and keep in showing your parents or you’re becoming and having those conversations. And I guess there’s a vulnerability to that too. But I just keep coming back to more, it takes time and effort and intentionality, and sometimes that’s hard to find in our busy lives with 14 of us all together for a meal here and there and then months in between. And I don’t, yeah. Did that make sense? Did that answer?

Dan: It does. Amanda?

Amanda: Yeah. I think that makes sense. Okay. It’s hard to remember what the multi-question was.

Annie: I know. It had a lot of parts.

Amanda: It was a lot of parts. Yeah. I think it’s still a lot of it’s working through my own self-discovery and my own self. And I feel like the past year especially, I’ve had this feeling of there’s more to me as a woman, as a human than I have accessed so far. And I’d like to access more of that person. And I think Annie touched on that. A lot of it is then allowing myself to, as I make these self discoveries, to feel like I can communicate them to you guys and not have you continue to see me as the young child or the middle child that classically behaved a certain way. I think learning how to have some of those conversations with you and mom have been really good. And I think I’ve only kind of talked a little bit about some of that stuff. And it is a really fun thing. I think, and I have this with Annie too, where you do fall back into these patterns of like, well, I behave this way and you act this way. And I feel like this climbing back into a cookie cutter of here is this person that I am. And every now and then feeling like, oh, I don’t actually need to go into that cookie cutter. I can be these other parts of me that I am with other friends or other people allowing my full true self to be there all the time, rather than really operating from the childhood, the younger me.

Annie: And I think with your role in particular, dad, I agree with everything Amanda said, and I can see him being on the other side of that relationship. There’s been all these different chapters when I went to college and came back and Amanda was totally different or we’re all changing all the time. And I find to be on the other side of that, how exciting that is to see because there’s just more of her available to have a relationship with. It’s, it’s exciting, it’s great. And then I can notice parts of me that have showed up, especially based on who dad is and really wanting to know, there’s been this deep desire through our whole life and sometimes comments about, I get to have these amazing deep conversations with my students and none of it with you guys on a spiritual level or philosophical level and… oh, there’s Parker. There was such a desire for that, such a urgent desire for that at some points that I think I just had to be like, I need my space to figure this out. I don’t want to be in conversation with you as I’m discovering it like I would a therapist because you’re my dad. And so I think we’ve had a different layer to navigate that. And for me it’s been yeah I guess giving myself the grace of space to go on my own explorations and then coming back when I’m ready.

Dan: And I think that’s been part of the growth for me at least. I would hope that being able to bear more patience and more trust that the process will grow. And as you both know, I can be somewhat impatient, somewhat impulsive and quite…

Annie: Same. Same, same.

Dan: Quite verbal. So the intensity of those interactions, there’s just been so many times where I have felt the need to remain in the backdrop waiting for you all. I mean, the last conversation that Amanda and I had on the podcast was, you need to talk more. You need to engage more, you, you’re waiting way too long. And I think that’s part of the reality of whenever you’re functioning as a parent, you sort of make internal decisions about how you’re going to engage. And then it, it’s like, no, you can’t create a linear process that will work in every occasion. So I think some of the work that we’ve done is just the awkwardness of having hard conversations. Not to say there aren’t a thousand more, but that ability just to have conflict but know that we can remain together has felt like one of the crucial gifts that you both have given to me. The ability to be in difficult conversations, but know that it can continue. Maybe not at my pace, maybe not at my time, but it will continue. And I think that is one of the hard but good gifts when there is this adult child-parental growth, can we be patient with one another and to trust that the evolution really is good and we might differ, have struggles, but if we can just stay in the conversation something really good will happen. Does that feel true for both of you?

Annie: Yeah. Yeah, I think so. I mean two, sorry, Amanda, if I, two things come up. I mean, one, I do think we’ve had been given a huge baseline of love. So there’s never questioned love based on anything that I’ve done. So yeah, I feel like we have that patience in knowing that really no matter how, I don’t need to, how we act, what we say, the love’s going to be there. But the second thing I wanted to say, just as you were talking to me and Amanda and I was thinking, gosh, like parent, I have parenting two boys, so different. You’re parenting two girls and Amanda’s so different. We’re two girl girls, totally different Amanda’s needs. And I’m seeing it through the Chinese medicine constitutional standpoint. Amanda wants to be understood and heard. And in this process I needed space for my own journey and then to come back on my own timing. And so it’s just so interesting how it’s hard it is to be a parent because you have to do different things with different people.

Dan: Simultaneously.

Annie: Yes.

Amanda: I know. Did you guys have a little conscious thought about that parenting? I mean, Andrew too, of course, but Annie and I and how I feel like it’d be harder to be more different sometimes. We’re very, very different humans. And is there conscious ways that you thought, okay, I can’t do this with Amanda, that I did with Annie or Yes. How?

Dan: Yeah, the answer is absolutely yes. I mean, when I think about how much conversation, prayer, reflection that goes on past, present, and I’m sure future with regard to all your lives, including your husbands, including your children, I mean, I would say between Becky and I, 70% of our conversation is with regard to your lives. And that doesn’t feel overwrought or even problematic. It’s just like we love thinking and talking about you. But in that you know, you’ve got so many different variables that I would say, you know, have an Ecclesiastes three, this lovely hymn that the birds used. There’s a time for X, there’s a time for Y, there’s the time for this. But the element that it comes to is, and nobody knows the right time. So I think that’s that sense of, I don’t know how to be a parent without having a sense of failure. And that’s not primary, but it’s just there. You just know that how I’m engaging doesn’t seem to fit what’s needed in the moment and with the person. And then when the issues were between the two of you or the three of you where all of you were part of it, it’s like, good lord just throw the dart against the wall and hope something sticks.

Annie: Overwhelming being a parent, I think you realized that more and more the more you parent.

Dan: Yeah. And I’m curious with that, how has your parenting changed your understanding of how to relate to me to mom, but also how it shall we say shapes or reshapes your own understanding of your childhood?

Annie: I feel like I could talk about that for an hour. So maybe I’ll let Amanda go first and then I’ll fill in the gap. But I could do a whole podcast on that one. Spend a lot of time thinking about that.

Dan: We may. We may.

Amanda: Can do part two, part three. I don’t know, I really love, I think it seems like however generation or more, there’s different philosophies and different people that speak a lot of what I dunno culturally people are going towards. And I really love Becky Kennedy, Dr. Becky for parenting, young child in particular. But then she also talks about how it’s almost like reparenting yourself and mom has just finished reading that book and getting to have some of those conversations with her where she’s like, oh, this is so good. Like, I wish I would’ve said this. I love how you do this. And I already forgot your question. I feel like this is my common theme but I…

Annie: You’re doing it, Amanda, you got it right. Just keep going.

Amanda: But what was the overarching question of how do you learning how to relate to you understanding parenting based on how I’m parenting my own children? Yeah, yeah.

Dan: And how you’re relating to your parents as a result of your own parenting.

Amanda: Yeah, I mean I think one thing right now is I have this child, Parker, who apparently has a lot of similarities, not completely, but to me as a kid. And I just feel like I do feel so much more compassion for you guys and for how exhausting it is trying to not be terrified that she’s just going to jump off of a building because she has no fear and there’s just her sense of boundaries is I think it’s always going to be a part of her. She just does exactly what she wants to do when she wants to do it. So learning to relate to her and seeing too how different Grace and Parker are and how you really have to parent completely different. I don’t think that’s anything I ever thought of until the last year or so. And really seeing how completely different their personalities are and how we have to really modify ourselves and think about how you guys have had to do that with three kids and how you have to modify and evolve that over time. Because we’ve said we’re not stagnant, we don’t stay the same young selves, we evolve. So I have been appreciative as I’ve tried to do that more how hard it can be and easy it is to just try to have my one trigger response or reflex. That’s not always the best.

Dan: Well Annie, you’ve got a full hour, so…

Annie: Yeah, try to make it concise. Well, I agree with everything Amanda said. Certainly empathy being big, I mean of it’s easy to throw stones if you don’t live in a glass house, isn’t that the saying? But until it’s easy to be like I’m not going to do this and I can’t believe my parents did that and blah, blah, blah, blah. Until you get into similar situations and you just realize how completely overwhelming it is to raise another human. And there’s so many different chapters of that. Amanda with Parker at three is in the stage of just keeping her safe and it gets a lot more heady as they get older. And this, I’m learning new things about I think raising this mini man in my house that just wants independence. And so I think that I totally underline and emphasize everything with the compassion and the empathy for how hard it was. I feel like much less of a victim than I would’ve been at different points like blaming parents. But I also think also raising teenagers have realized how it’s the edge of my own self, self-growth much more than my marriage, which feels, has always felt like much that’s easier, this is who I chose, but the edge of my own self-growth, which often feels like it’s hitting against similar things that I hit against with my own parents, which is interesting and frustrating. And being aware of parts of me that really yearned for more empathy, for example, or compassion or just being heard without being, there is a thread in our family of kind of reacting and sometimes being very defensive and then eventually coming around, but being defensive first. And of course I can see myself doing those same things with my kids sometimes. And when I’ve done my own work to notice God how much I yearned for that and then I notice myself not giving it, that can feel pretty bad. But I’ve also found I love internal family systems and have done a lot of work personally with IFS and now that again, raising a teenager, my oldest seems to be where who’s much more similar to me. So some of the challenges are similar to the ones that showed up with me and my dad, and now it’s a different version with me and my son and back to Dr. Becky who really focuses on IFS going back to those younger parts and meeting them and listening to them in a way that maybe they weren’t listened to at home has been really healing. And it’s been a combo of being able to give empathy and understanding for what you’re going for going through. And then now being able to give myself something that you guys didn’t give yourselves. And seeing that what I just wanted was actually a parent that felt nurtured, okay, and grounded regardless of what I did. So that’s what I have to give myself is my own nurturing and grounding and care. So I’m okay no matter what my 14 year old does and he doesn’t feel that pressure that we felt. Yeah. So there’s my wrap up

Dan: I think in so many ways. I think what I’ve spoken this to both of you, that both mom and I have watched you mother/parent and felt at times we were oddly taking into our own selves something of what you were giving to your children. And again, it’s a strange phrase.

Annie: Tell me more like what do you mean specifically break that down?

Dan: Well you were parenting well and we were so proud of you in those moments. And yet not just watching how you each care for your children, but how you were caring for them actually touch parts of us that longed to have a parent like that ourselves. And that sweet gift is a strange gift. I would never have predicted this. I knew I would be proud of both of you in terms of how you would love your husband’s, how you would love your children, but I didn’t expect something of that strange sense of being parented by you. And to have that clarity of oh, that’s exactly what I would’ve wanted to have had from a mother or goodness that was so wise and strong, or you both escaped the kind of power struggle that both of your children were setting you into. That was brilliant. So I mean there is a sense of pride of course, but even more so that quality of oh, that’s what a really good mother does. So I felt that often watching your mom parent to you in terms of taking in something of the drink of that goodness. But I felt that as well, if not more so watching the two of you, does that surprise you?

Annie: But no, it’s nice to hear, I mean, as you’re saying that, I wonder too, I’m curious about you, are you greeting that with both a sense of awe and also some sadness too for what you didn’t have? Both at the same time.

Dan: Oh, sure. Yeah. I really am very much thank you for therapeutically engaging.

Amanda: We’ve talked about that before. You’ve told me that. And I do think it is really sweet. And that idea that you can heal these parts of your childhood self that didn’t receive that sort of kindness or compassion just by watching your own children parent like that. I do think it’s so cool. And I do feel like the brain is so amazing that you can go and you can heal these parts and I really love that.

Dan: Well this is a little off, but I don’t know if you remember, you visited my mom and I think you were 18 or 19, Annie and Manda, you were certainly three years younger and I got a phone call…

Amanda: Keep going.

Dan: And you called basically saying, we’re good, we’re fine. But you both wanted to say we understand a little bit more of who you are.

Annie: She’s bat-shit crazy.

Dan: Yeah, that’s a very technical term. That’s part of IFS, batshit crazy. But yeah, I look back to that as one of those incredible gifts of that shift into your adult years that you could see with no attack against my mother, but an awareness of I see what your mother brings. I see how it’s affected you, but I also have a sense of how it’s splashed over into our lives as well. So you, you’re both thinking intergenerationally in a way that I think a lot of people don’t tend to see. Is that fair to say for both of you?

Amanda: Yes. Yeah, we’ve talked about that.

Annie: And I also think just listening to you talk and in my own spiritual practice, this is just such a reminder that it’s a gift because as you go through these cyclical processes and we’re all kind of looping upon each other, we all get to be one all at the same time. Not like power dynamics of parent/child, you know, more… It’s a beautiful opportunity to just kind of see the oneness.

Dan: Yep. Oh, I couldn’t agree more, Amanda.

Amanda: Yeah, I agree. And I remember feeling like you were mentioning with your mom a couple times of having this illumination of I can, here’s how I feel after 15 minutes or an hour of wanting to crawl out of my skin and like, oh God, how that would affect you over a whole childhood. It is nice that we were able to have those moments and have more compassion for what little Dan must have experienced as a boy in that situation and how when you go back to heal your inner child, that’s a lot, that lot of healing that you’ve done and still needs to happen.

Annie: Oh, I was mean thinking how, it’s true how your parenting, you and mom came so far from where you came from and hopefully we’ve come, we didn’t have to go so far, but we still, it’s carry the same burdens. It’s like you carry them less so hopefully with good parenting as time goes on, but those pieces of your mom are still threads that we find ourselves having to heal.

Amanda: Yeah, I think the intergenerational thing with the women in our family, and I’ve talked a little bit about, and it, it’d be so interesting to know how far some of these threads go back, but this is, it wasn’t grandma that experienced them for the first time and then passed them to you or to mom. These are things that have been going on for so many generations and it’s been a fun thing. Annie and I’ve talked a little bit about how having compassion for those women, they were crazy and I really do feel like…

Annie: They carried a lot,

Amanda: They did carry a lot.

Annie: …of threads of having perfectionism and pressure and just not a lot of freedom. I feel like there wasn’t as much freedom to make. So then maybe that’s why Amanda and I are really trying to find this, a width of our freedom of becoming who we really are. I mean in our childhood we had a lot more freedom too. I remember one of my lines from our childhood is, I feel like you said with me, and I think maybe you decided not to keep saying it with the other kids, but we’re like, I want my kids to see and speak up. But then when we did so it caused pain. So I think that mantra ended with me. But I definitely took that to heart. So there are a lot of ways that we had freedom, but there were a lot of ways that we had pressure. And I can see the intergenerational thing. I just find so helpful too because it’s not about giving it back to mom or giving it back to my grandmother. It’s like there’s some ancestor back there that didn’t have that much pressure she carried. And we can find that.

Dan: Well, before we end I would love for both of you to put words to, and this is a very odd question, but if you can bear it, alright, so you’re going to speak someday at our departure, at our funeral or whatever. What are you going to want to…What are you going to want to say in a sentence or two.

Amanda: You ready. Oh my God. you’re like…

Annie: Can you see why I’ve asked for some space, as I go through my processes? How many parents ask that, in the now, in a podcast?

Amanda: And in a public forum?

Annie: I’ll find it, Amanda, you go first.

Amanda: Oh, got this. I mean, why

Annie: Okay, I’ll go first. I’ll find it now. I mean, I would say, or did you guys both die at the same time?

Dan: At this point?

Amanda: There’s a tragic plane…

Dan: No, no, no. We just sort of got elloped into eternity

Amanda: Oh, sorry.

Annie: Okay. Just peaceful holding hands into the night. God, I would mean just start with we were loved. I feel like I was so and am, but going to that childhood so deeply loved and adored and never questioned that and were cared for and yeah, were loved and cared with depth and intentionality. And it’s coming up to me by, I hate that word failure, but it is complicated it. And yet it was still complicated and there was still always space to come back home to that love. So I don’t know. It all comes down to love and there was plenty of it.

Amanda: Yeah, love is a good place to go. Love is always the answer. I feel so grateful. I think not everyone gets parents that you love but really admire and enjoy being around and feel like they’re proud of you and like you. And it, there’s so much that I feel like we won a really great lottery with you and mom and you have given Annie and Andrew and on our respective families a lot of love and safety and just a sense of peace. And you were talking about, oh, the conflict that occurs with change. And I feel like we’ve never… we’ve always been allowed to have conflict. That’s always been something that’s okay. And I’ve never been afraid to, you’ve…

Annie: Always felt safe. Yeah.

Amanda: Yeah. I’ve never felt afraid to be angry and say I don’t agree with what you say or to have disagreements. You really have given us a lot of space to try to be the people we want to be. And you have given us a lot of love.

Dan: Thank you.

Annie: And delight, I would say. Yeah. It’s Amanda saying you have delighted all the way through in who we were. And there were some chapters

Amanda: That were less delightful,

Annie: Where we were a less delightful. I can see that now as I’m parenting a 14 year old. So there were chapters where we were less delightful and maybe there was a little more control or something, but then you let go. Then you guys were really good at letting go and just honoring who we’ve become and just trying to get to know us and have relationships. So maybe that circles back to this podcast that I think inherent in who you guys are is you let go and you’re curious, well, and you love and what else do you need?

Dan: So I mean understand it was a fairly bizarre question. But just so you know, I do plan to at least preach a part of my own funeral and I will speak about each of you in that moment.

Amanda: Oh my God, we are going to be crying, going to be such a mess. I’m the hologram.

Dan: I’m hoping by the time I depart that it really will be a hologram nonetheless. I mean, the thing that I would say in furtherance to what we’re putting words to is the two of you have surprised me endlessly with both your wisdom in some sense, the ferocity of your commitment to become who or who you think you’re meant to become. And that process of having that privilege of watching with both a sense of utters, awe, surprise. But also, and I’m so glad you used that word, Annie, but I think for both mom and I, we, we’ve just had so much delight, which is the reason where when we talk about you all, yeah, there are some moments of worry, but mostly we’re just amazed. And I think that’s what I would want for a family. That as you grow together, as you deal with conflict, as you deal with things that may be difficult to address, love not only heals, but delight brings joy to this process. Why would we be inviting people to do this hard work rather than just staying with whatever has been is because delight can actually grow for one another. And I have felt so immensely honored by both of you and certainly by Andrew, but also delighted in. There are just many moments where you scratch your head with kind of like, ah, he is nuts. On the other hand I’m fond of him. And I think that gift of having adult children who actually want to be with me, us, and enjoy it, is one of the great gifts, if not the greatest gift of life. So to say to you both. I love you both honored. Love you. So grateful. So thank you. I mean, I don’t know if the audience would want, but I’d love to do that extra hour at some point and we will carry on…

Amanda: The deep dive

Dan: The deep dive. Thank you both.

Amanda: All right, love you.

Annie: Love you.