Monday, January 5, 2009

Listening in 2009

Last night as I was driving home from work I was talking with my mother. She asked how the kids were and related to me a comment made to a friend of hers by his grandson. The little boy said, "Grandpa, I like to come to your house because you listen to me."

"I hope we listen to our kids," my mom said. "Do we listen to our kids?"

It's funny she should ask that. Last weekend my son was watching the football game with my husband in the family room (he's a Chargers fan), and I was watching TV in my bedroom. About every 15 minutes or so he'd come running in, so excited or anxious (depending upon the play) that he could barely contain himself, relating to me the play-by-play.

I couldn't care less about football--ever--but every time my son came in I'd pause the TV and just lay there in awe looking at him and watching him relate every detail of this sport that is so important to him. I honestly don't remember what he said, but I do remember what I was thinking.
I thought how awesome it was that he cared enough about me to come rushing in after each play and tell me exactly what happened, knowing how little I care about football. I thought how wonderful it was that something so ultimately simple could excite him so very much. And I wondered if the day would come when he would stop wanting to tell me about the things that are important to him, when it would no longer occur to him to share things with me. I hoped not.

I came very close to gathering him up in my arms that night, squeezing him, and whispering in his ear "Please don't ever stop telling me about football." But I knew he'd probably say "oh. . . kay" and give me the look he gives me when I act in that confusing way all moms act when they're thinking about something very far away from what's happening right now.

Here's to becoming better writers in 2009 by becoming better listeners.

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