When my kids were little, they always wanted to talk to me while I was in the bathroom. In the shower or on the throne, it seemed their most pressing questions came when I was a bit indisposed.
These days, I’d live in the bathroom if it meant my kids would voluntarily come talk to me.
They are so busy (I hate that word, but that’s a story for another day). They work and play and do school and friendships and all the other teenage things (phones).
Have you ever thought your kids were too busy for you, only to realize you are too busy for them? Been there. That’s a terrible wake-up call…
I think I’m available, but I’m shuffling papers, folding blankets, unloading dishes, or checking my email when they enter the room. Do I immediately set everything aside and turn to them? Nope. Not even a little bit. I am selfish and independent enough to do what I want to do. I would argue, that’s not such a bad trait for a parent. It gives kids a chance to remember their backpacks and pack their own lunches without me sweeping in to save the day – essentially telling them they couldn’t possibly do things correctly on their own.
I learned a valuable parenting lesson when I had breast cancer a few years ago. When I sit very still, they will come.
I thought it was a cancer thing, but it turns out it’s an availability issue.
I have been traveling a lot the past few weeks. When I got home Saturday night, I put on my jammies, hopped into bed, and yelled to no one in particular, “Come talk to me!”
The 11-year-old came first, regaled me with a hunting story and then went to find some cookie dough.
The 15-year-old came next. He flopped himself sideways on the bed and talked about his teachers, his birthday wish list and the upcoming baseball season which is six months away.
The 17-year-old sauntered in with her dad and for some reason that was when the giggling started. Dumb jokes that only our family would get.
Sometimes the kids come to me and sometimes I invite myself into their rooms and wait, like a cat, for them to acknowledge me.
Only you know the cadence of your family; when your people want to talk and when they need space.
But all of us need to know we are worth listening to.