“No, Mom! No no no!”
So began my morning with my 11-year old son.
One of the things that I LOVE about being a relationship specialist and having a child is that it keeps me humble.
Being in a relationship with a tween is just like being in a relationship with anyone else. As soon as I think that I have it all figured out about how they feel, think, or see the world, I just left the moment and abandoned the authenticity of our relationship. As soon as I assume that I know everything, I box the person into my preconceived idea of who they are and what they need…rather than seeing them for the unique, ever-changing being that they are on this earth.
Being in the moment only happens when one is willing to be in the Unknown. Unchartered Territory. No Man’s Land. The Great Abyss. I recommend that you breathe when you arrive on the shores of the Unknown. That you rest your hand on your heart to feel the realness of your physical body as the conversation traverses unfamiliar and, possibly, uncomfortable territory. The key, of course, is to stay in the precious moment with my son, spouse, friend, client and let the realness of that moment unfold in its fullness.
Check in with yourself when you are in the Unknown and feel the magical space between stimulus of the other person and the response that you choose. This miraculous place is where newness happens…where new behaviors, habits, thoughts, feelings and moments of fresh life cascade forward. This precious place that we often rush past or plow through is where we might linger and stretch out, just a bit, to experience the possibilities of something different.
So…how did my own “miraculous moment” unfold with my son. With my hot cup of earl grey in one hand and the other hand on my heart, I listened to his frustration and pain (it was hard to miss with the raised voice); I breathed and felt my heart connect to his as he is learning to be with big-kid feelings and experiences of the world while still having to make his bed and remember to take a shower; I opened just a little bit more to really see the person who he is rather than who I was at 11 years old; I lovingly and clearly set a boundary verbally that might have felt stern to him but was wrapped with a boat-load of loving energy and acceptance pouring through my heart; and I told him to get in the car because it was time to go to school.
Our relationships are less about doing it “right” and more about engaging in them fully and authentically…in a way that is true to the moment and to our hearts.
May you go forth open to linger in those magical moments of life with the people that you love.