My wife and I have been watching a lot of British TV series that typically deal with crime and/or courts. In one we watched about a month ago, I learned an expression that really touched me. In the series, a woman who’s a cop in Liverpool finds out that her daughter, who had left in a snit as a teenager, had died in Ireland. The Liverpool cop hadn’t been in touch with her daughter, who wanted to cut off the relationship completely, since her daughter left about 20 years earlier. The woman goes to Ireland to try to find out what happened. She meets her teenage grandchildren and learns more about her daughter–her work, her friends, her life.

I think it’s the woman who says at one point that her daughter was “building a life.” When I heard that, it resonated with me. I’m already someone who tends to be sympathetic to people in their struggles and I think that expression alone has made me more sympathetic.

My daughter was home for Thanksgiving and we learned about her business, her clients, her friends, and her activities. This was in a few conversations over the weekend, not just one. As she was talking, that expression came to me: Karen is building a life. Of course, I’m already very sympathetic to her; she is my daughter. But just having that expression caused me to feel my heart opening to her even more.