Shortly after the birth of our baby girl last July, a friend visited. We got to talking. As we dove deeper into conversation, my ‘tween (In case you don’t know, that’s a term for pre-teenager. Too old to be a child. Too young to be a teenager.) daughter came and stood behind me, listening. Fidgeting. Breathing in my ear. Piping in. Basically just driving me crazy. She eventually wondered off as we got boring.
I expressed to my friend how this habit bothered me. She replied: Why don’t you tell her?
To which I replied: I don’t want to hurt her feelings. I used to listen to my mom a lot, and I really learned a lot from what my mom had to say to her friends.
She then said: No. I don’t mean tell her to leave, but why don’t you tell her to sit down?
My friend had such a lovely voice and inflection–very matter-of-fact, very admonishing, very wise–when she said it. I wish you could hear it.
Huh, I thought. What a novel idea. Have her sit down with us if she wants to join us and listen. Well, I liked that idea. So now, that’s what we do. You don’t have to leave, but you do have to sit down. I know, most people are like, “Scoot. Split. Get outa’ here.” But I look back at some pretty intense conversations my mom let me listen in on regarding marriage and religion. Some of her ideas made great impressions on me, and I carry what she said deeply in my heart, even though they weren’t to me–and they were probably filtered a little because of me. Maybe that’s what made them mean more, that they were her important thoughts shared with a good friend and not directed at me at all.
Thought I’d pass this on. We all parent differently, and this may not fit your style. But if it might, chew on it a bit. Let’s leave the world a better place through our children.