As a mom, I've always believed that communication is the key to any healthy relationship. And as my son has grown into this lovely 18-year-old, I've realized that this belief holds true for the parent-child bond as well. I'm proud to say that communication has been the foundation of our mother-son relationship and has helped us grow closer throughout the years and especially now.
When my son was little, I made a point to have regular conversations with him about everything under the sun. We talked about his day at school, his friends, his hobbies, and even his fears and worries. I made it a point to him attentively without interrupting or judging and encouraged him to share his thoughts and feelings with me.
As he grew older, our conversations became deeper and more meaningful. We talked about life, love, and the challenges that come with growing up. I shared my experiences and wisdom with him, and he, in turn, shared his unique perspective on things.
As much as he shared his thoughts and feelings, I often shared mine too. Sometimes even about the frustrations of life. And I have noticed one thing. No one can shift my thinking or make me rethink my choices the way this boy can. That's how level-headed and clear he is when telling me his perspective on issues that I raise. He is able to see clearly when my thoughts are clouded. The other special thing is how he delivers what he needs to say. He just has a knack for knowing what to say and how to say it. It will forever amaze me how eloquent he is, and he definitely never got that from me or his father!
Through conversations, we've both bared our vulnerabilities.
Through these conversations, we learned to understand each other better. I appreciate my son's sensitivity, intelligence, maturity, calmness and compassion, and he has learned to see me as a flawed human being who is doing the best she can. We have laughed together, cried together and celebrated each other's successes. We've shared our joys and sorrows. We've offered each other support and guidance.
But most importantly, our communication has helped us navigate difficult times. When we faced conflict or a disagreement, we talked through our differences and came to a resolution. When my son made mistakes, we talked about what happened and how we could learn from it. And when I made mistakes, I apologized and made amends.
The funny thing is some of our deepest conversations have always been when we're in the car on the way home and if the conversation is still going even if we'd reach home, we'd sit in the car and talk it through and it never mattered how long it took. It was never forced, he wanted to sit with me. As much as I listened to him, he extended the same to me.
I've learned so much about my son through these conversations. I've learned about his dreams in life, and I've learned about the little goals he creates for himself to achieve his dreams. I've learned that he is grateful even for the tiniest of things. I've learned how tenacious and determined he is. I've learned how compassionate he is towards others without having to boast or tell the world about it. I've learned that he can be brutally straightforward and calm and correct at the same time. I've learned how sensitive he is. I've learned that the pressures he is facing along with other teens today are more than we can imagine. And it takes a certain level of courage to wake up every day and do what they do. I've learned that he might not be on top of everything where his academics are concerned but he tries hard every single day and he won't give up. I've learned that he realises that some things he and I do together are the few 'last' times we have before he goes away to university. I also know for a fact that he is fearless on so many levels!
I've learned to see many things through his eyes. Whilst he is learning to navigate the world, as anyone should at his age, I've discovered a whole world inside this boy.
And I know, he is going to be okay. Better than okay.
We might think our kids couldn't possibly teach us anything because we've 'been there, done that', but I've learned that it is not true at all. Where we were was a different time, a different world. My son has taught me a lot about growing up in this time and this world.
In my opinion, if we can get past our egos as parents and learn to have an open mind as well as practice what we often preach to our children, we get this amazing opportunity to understand them better and even learn from them.
Looking at my relationship with my son, I realize that our relationship wouldn't be as strong as it is today if it weren't for our communication. I'm grateful, so very grateful for every conversation we've had, every word spoken, and every lesson learned. And I'm proud to say that our mother-son bond is unbreakable, thanks to the power of communication.