Trial and error. Or should I say error and trial. Because I always err first. Then I try it one more time, or 20 more times just to be sure, because I just can’t stop myself even though I know it’s not going to go well. That’s when I finally learn and try it a different way.
My kids are my teachers. They teach me when they’re pissed at me, even though my pure intention was just to be helpful. They teach me when they feel I’m judgmental when I was proud of how open minded I thought I was acting. They teach me when they shut me out when I thought for sure I’d proven I was their number one cheerleader. I get it wrong again and again.
And finally, when I’ve reached utter frustration and disbelief at the disconnect between us, I try something new. I listen to their perception, no matter what my intention was. And I validate what they were hoping I’d validate, instead of pointing out why I was right. It’s not easy because it usually goes against what I did think was right.
But that’s also when something amazing happens to make it all worth it. They start to accept my help instead of being annoyed at me. They share their vulnerabilities with me, trusting I won’t judge. And the best is that instead of shutting me out, they seek me out, because they now believe I actually am their number one cheerleader, with no hidden agenda. Only their agenda.
It’s really always that simple. And with each new scenario, I learn a little more quickly to listen to them so that I can learn what they actually need from me.
I still do the trial and error thing and I still bang my head against the wall, but I’m getting to the best part a lot faster. The words that nestle in the sweet spot of my heart. The unsolicited, ” I love you, Mom. Thank you. ”