How my mom built our relationship
As I teenager I didn’t have a curfew per se. I did have a mother who always waited up for me. Always. No matter what time I got home there she was waiting for and without fail we’d spend time talking about the evening. In those late night conversations I’d tell her about the funny things that happened that day. Of course, in typical teenager fashion a lot of time was spent on boy drama. Did so-and-so like me? Why did so-and-so ask him out if they knew I liked him? Inevitably, though, those conversation would find it’s way to my hopes and dreams. My fears. My future plans. The decisions I needed to make.
It was because of those late night talks that I consider my mom my best friend. Got good news. Call mom. Had a crappy day at work. Call mom. Need help making a decision. Call mom.
Our strong relationship didn’t happen over night. Rather it was the result of years of work in which my mother did these 3 things.
First, she listened.
Anybody can talk, but it takes true talent to listen. And my mom has that talent in spades. In those hours and hours of conversations she didn’t talk that much. She spent her time listening. As a teenager I needed that. Like a lot of teenagers, I was trying to figure things out and it seemed that the only way for me to was to talk about it. All that talking allowed me to process it. It allowed me to see possible outcomes and to work through my feelings. To this day, I still have to talk through important decisions aloud.
Even more than allowing me to process that information, her listening was proof that she loved me. She loved me enough to sacrifice sleep. Which I now know is a currency worth more than gold. She loved me enough to show me that she respected me. She loved me enough to teach me by her example to be a better person. She loved me enough to show me what love really means.
Second, she understood.
Understanding isn’t easy—especially when we’ve got years of experience and want to pass along our wisdom and knowledge. One of the outcomes of all that listening was that I felt like she understood my dilemma—most of the time. She understood that we learn more from listening than we do from talking. She understood why when something good happened it mattered to me. She also knew why I was disappointed when things I wanted didn’t happen. Even when she didn’t understand all the specifics, she made an effort to try. And when she didn’t understand I gave her the benefit of doubt because of our track record.
Third, I trusted her advice.
Because she listening and strove to understand her advice tended to be spot on. Now, I didn’t always love her advice. What teenager does? But, I needed her advice and because she’d been figuratively in the trenches with me, I knew I could trust it. I knew that the advice she was giving me was advice that had my best interest in mind. Over the years I’ve come to see how wise her wisdom actually has been. When I’ve listened to her things have been easier. Guess you could say that mother does know best.