I wake up at 3 am often these days, not sure if it is the heat, anxiety based on chemistry, worry based on real-life stuff, or just hormones.
Part of it is my worry that I am not getting enough time with my son. This is funny, because there are many moments when I have had more than enough of his 18-year old snarky comment about the phone rule (in the kitchen at bedtime), or his lack of cleaning up his own dishes, or the rank smell of his bedroom. I am trying to be ready for him to move on.
I am working on carving out those “love moments” with my teenagers- times when we connect heart to heart without any mention of the dirty socks, the drinking glasses lining his bedroom shelves, his gas money needs, or the lurking conversation about birth control (semiannually I force myself to check in with him, despite the choking sensation I have when I start the conversation).
It is SO important to my son that we have a relationship based on caring about what is important to him,and not on (undone) chores and homework.
My kids blessed me with the insistence on real authentic communication. Unlike my parents, they are not appeased with lame pleasantries. “My day was fine” doesn’t cross my daughter’s lips unless she is REALLY mad at me. She almost always gives me the longest long version possible. When I ask how school went, I might hear “Well, my T-shirt wasn’t right, so my boobs were a bother, and that made me self-conscious. And then in Chemistry, Mason spilled the solvent, and Allie complains about her cramps too much, and… for another hour most nights.”
“Ack!” I want to run screaming 50 years back on first impulse, but we have to buck up and respond, don’t we? We have to be genuine and honest with them, in order to have a genuine and honest relationship. So the tough conversations that mean something to them have to happen- and we have to sit on our hands sometimes while they discuss the best zit-popping techniques rather than lecture them not to touch their faces. They want us in the now, right here with them, with our energy and our focus.