Yesterday my daughter came home in a bad mood. Kids on the playground had picked on her, her pencil had broken, she dropped some of her sandwhich on her shirt at lunch… the list goes on and on. She had a bad day. We all have them.
As she helped me with dinner prep, I asked her if she wanted to talk about it. She was hesitant, but once she started talking, she had an instance case of verbal diarrhea. I listened as she stirred the spaghetti sauce, and I just kept reassuring her that I could relate. I told her I hate days where things just go wrong one after another. I burn the eggs, spill coffee on my shirt, mislocate (aka lose) my keys, etc. It seems like some days are a train of collapsing dominoes.
After a short pity party, we hugged, finished dinner, and set the table. After dinner her brothers were cleaning up the table when she came and sat on my lap. “Mom,” she said with her sweet 8-year-old arms wrapped across my shoulders, “thank you for listening. Sometimes it just feels better to talk to you. You were a girl once too.”
It is moments like that that make me think about how incredibly special this thing called mothering really is. How many times in my life have I wanted someone just to listen? You don’t have to fix it, just listen. Relate to me. Put down your cell phone, turn off the TV, close your laptop and do more than hear the words… listen.
Everyone deserves to be listened to whether they are 3 or 103. It is so easy to blow off other people’s problems as insignificant, but to them, at that moment… they are the most important thing in the world.
Moments like that are the gateway to future conversations. It is reassurance to her to know that not only do I say that I love her, I respect her as a person and I want to hear what’s going on in her life.
I wonder how many times I have let moments like that slip through my fingers.
Have you ever caught a listening moment before it passed? How do you remind yourself to take that time?
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