UsOnBeachIt’s ironic that when we sat on those sticky bench seats, and you and I met face to face for the first time in that big van on the way to Mexico, it was I who listened to you for so many hours.

As you shared the story with the whole bunch of us, of Dad and his fight against leukemia and your senior year filled with sorrow beyond what we could imagine, you spoke honest and impassioned, filling in all the details like it was bringing life.

I began to love you by listening to you.

And now, 21 years later, it is nearly always you who listen to me as I unwind the details of the day and tell dreams and insecurities and joys, the sorrow of life and so much mundane.

Though I love to hear stories, it is you who wait patiently as I do most of the telling, laying it all out there on the bed, and I wonder when you will answer because you just listen, and it can feel so quiet when the light’s faded from our room.

On this particular night, I let the words go and tell you I worry about the summer, that I won’t be able to meet the needs of three girls who want such different things. And though I know I’m giving too much voice to discontent and worry, I wish we could be the cool house with the trampoline or the zip line or the treehouse, even the garden overflowing vegetables, but it’s not in the cards right now.

Though I know J and Lala are happy to dig and create magical lands and plant weeds in pots, I worry about Sici — that she will be unhappy here and will constantly itch to be elsewhere.

I keep talking and wonder why you don’t say something, but when you do, your words are gold.

“Kids won’t want to be here because we have the best food or the coolest backyard. They will want to be with us because they know they are loved, and they are welcome.”

I listen to your few chosen words in the wake of all mine, and they bring life.

They do. Like always.

It’s the last day of school today here, folks! We are really excited, and I expect it might take a little time to figure out a new rhythm of blogging as we adjust to being together under the same roof all day once again. I’ll try to listen to where we are, what we need and sometimes just let the uniqueness of the day unroll. This may mean more writing or less, early morning posts, late day posts or not at all posts. Part of me listening means admitting I do not have this parenting, writing, summer-ing or life thing figured out.  

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A note about Concrete Words: It was a joy to guest post and host Concrete Words this week at Nacole’s place. I read each piece linked there on The Morning and had the honor of choosing my favorite. The piece I’ve chosen to feature is by a beautiful writer and friend, Alia at Narrow Paths to Higher Places with her post, A Mother’s Faith. Please do read her words about the sacrifices, uncertainty and abiding hope of motherhood.

As I do most Fridays, I am connecting with Lisa-Jo Baker and the Five Minute Friday community where we “just write without worrying if it’s just right,” as Lisa-Jo says. I think we could probably all do with a little less worry about if “it” is just right, whatever “it” is. This week’s prompt: LISTEN.

Five Minute Friday

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