Pups talks to me. She always has, I hope she always will.
She is sure I don’t listen to her because I have learned to multitask while she speaks to me; while she tells me her stories. But I do. Do I ever. Every once and a while I will recite her own stories back to her and she is always shocked and impressed that I actually care and that I am actually listening. She doesn’t realize how aware I am at the luck I have as a parent that she is still talking to me about everything and anything, that she is taking the time to tell me about herself.
I think any parent can relate to how special a gift this is, how blessed I have been all this time that Pups lets me in this way. But it is way more than a gift now isn’t it? It’s a precious commodity! I know that all too well now, just how precious it is, because I have finally realized Bean doesn’t really talk to me the way I always thought she had. I have to pry to get personal information from her. When I think back I remember now that I used to describe her as a chatty girl as much as I used to explain to friends that her lack of connection with others was because she was a very “private” person. Can anyone say ‘contradiction in terms’?
The majority of the time (like 95% of the time) I initiate the conversations with Bean. And most of the time those conversations are pretty limited. I am painfully aware now that the little girl who I once thought of as my “chatty” kid was never as chatty as I thought she was.
I laid with her last night after putting Tig to sleep. I don’t get to do this often because Tig often takes awhile to fall asleep, and to be honest I usually fall asleep with him. But last night I got out early and I rushed over to her bed. She said nothing about the unusual circumstance of my presence. She jumped into her bed beside me, turned her back to me and promptly put her Woon idoll on its loudest volume and placed it up against her ear. So I lay there listening to the Dixie Chicks and to Dido skipping horribly on the old stone age ipod we gave her years ago that she had put into the belly of the fuzzy white idoll bear. And I just lay there beside my kid. Then after what seemed like ages (and way too many skipping songs), she placed her foot on my leg. Then she twisted her arm backwards and patted me gently, and that was so nice. I live for those moments, even though I wish for just a bit more, something more like I have with Pups.
Then sometimes, just sometimes, she surprises me with that ‘just a bit more’. And I have to be really with it to catch these moments, because they are rare and fleeting, and if I miss them because I’m caught up with my own crap it will be awhile before I get another and I will regret it.
So I was glad the other day that I was really “with it” when out of a moment of total silence, while we crossed the street, completely out of nowhere she said “do you know that Kangaroos don’t fart?”.
Yes, that’s what she said.
“Oh come on!” I responded. Cause seriously – everybody farts! But she insisted and she explained that she was told by a scientist at her school and that Kangaroos also don’t poop much.
Now I know you might be surprised to think of this as a really special moment between the two of us – talking about the gastrointestinal issues, or lack there of, of Kangaroos – but it was. It was Bean that initiated the conversation! That’s big.
I’ll admit that I did do the jerk move of googling it when I got home, because EVERYBODY farts! Right?
Bean was, of course, correct. Kangaroos don’t fart. Instead they convert methane into energy. Huh! Well there you go. So now I know this, and now you know it too – and we know this because Bean just felt like telling me this the other day while we crossed the street.
So last night as I lay in her bed with her, because I was patient and I lay there long enough and quiet enough, she finally turned towards me (after gently patting me) and placed the idoll against my ear and said “this is what I’m listening to”, and she smiled that fantastic smile at me. I realized then that this *was* her talking to me. That those moments of silence are not as vapid as I once thought. They are filled with thoughts and love and tiny gentle pats, and sometimes, just sometimes, if you wait long enough, and you don’t pry, they can fill a little with words too. But that the words are not solely what you should listen for, you should listen to the silence in between as well.
Sometimes, just sometimes, the silence lets you in too.