Family, family conversations, Kids growning up, Parenting

Finding Time to Talk With Your Kids

About once a month the stars align, the mood is right, and the temperature is at a perfect balance, yes, and the bluebirds sing a pleasing melody. No this isn’t a commercial for Cialis. It’s a picture of that perfect time when you (the parent) want to talk to the kids and they let you. More than that it’s that time when you have a meaningful exchange about each other’s state of mind, dreams, and goals. 

You do know by now, that there is no perfect time to talk with your kids. I used to think that the best time to talk with them was when I held them hostage in the car on the way to school. Those short times elicited the one word response and/or a mild grunt. I ended up spouting a soliloquy. Sometimes they’d surprise me with more than one word: “I don’t know, mom.” Among three kids (Only Daughter, Vegan Son, Oldest Son) that took all of five seconds–total. 

But I jest. A little. 

Whatever it is that aligns perfectly to allow a more than 60 second exchange of conversation may be unknown but after all these years my children have shown a pattern of ‘ripeness’ for meaningful conversation. Each of them has their own ‘ripe’ time. 

For Only Daughter (OD) it’s when she and I go out for lunch and a movie, or basically when we eat and watch a movie at home. These are the times when I learn so much about what’s happening in her world.  She’s in her eighth month of study in the health field and she shares funny stories of ‘veni-punctures’ gone awry, someone who has the hands of a clumsy giant, and how pediatrics would be a great field except she doesn’t think she can work with critically ill children-it’s too sad. She’d like to work with a sports medicine doctor (gee, I wonder why) or with a chiropractor so she can get free adjustments. I also find out “can you believe it, xx is pregnant…so and so has so many problems with her mom…I’m worried about her, she chooses the worst boyfriends…” I sit and listen.

Everyday, she says, she feels herself getting closer and closer to graduating, getting a good job, a car, and finding a ‘cute’ apartment for her and her chinchillas, rat, and fish. My smile is ear to ear. OD says “I’ll finally get to decorate my own place not just my little room.” She has  very cool flea market finds accumulated in her closet. The conversation goes on for many more minutes… 

…and then I feel a little sad, because the girl in front of me no longer has her hair cut in a cute bob nor does she wear pink. She is a grown woman, who dyes her own hair, has a tattoo “To Thine Own Self Be True,” and has a unique fashion sense that ranges from 5 inch glitter heels to Minnetonka moccasins, Betsey Johnson to Target dresses, and five year old skinny jeans.

Everyday I feel her stepping out into her future and I don’t know if I’m ready yet. But I figure I have another eighteen months with her at home before she can afford to move out. And when that day comes, I hope she’ll still want to go ‘do lunch’ or watch movies with mom. 

Until then, the quest for ‘ripe’ times to talk to each of my three kids, is a priority. Even if I end up in a monologue.

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