Sometimes You Need to Zip Your Lip

For me, life is a series of events that make up chapters in our lives. Sometimes a new chapter starts and I am still enjoying, or living in, the old chapter and I don’t realize it’s time to move on. When this happens, my children usually let me know it’s time to move forward. They are growing and changing and I need to do the same.

“I don’t want to talk about it.” “Well, are you going to be sad when Lucy goes?” “I don’t want to talk about it.” “Okay, are you sure you’re okay with her going?” “I don’t want to talk about it.”

It took three times of my son saying the same thing for me to finally stop asking him if he really was okay with his dog going to a new home. We were moving to a new home that had a little acreage but not enough fenced yard. We also had an older Lab and a small dog, and two would be much more manageable than three. We had a friend who wanted her for her daughter, and we knew she would have a great life with them.

At least I didn’t ask a fourth time. I’m growing. Finally.  My 15 year old daughter has been breaking me in for a few years now. I’m finally getting it.

It’s so hard for me not to have my questions answered. I analyse everything. My life is about finding answers to questions. I can’t help it. I just think that’s the way I’m wired. Apparently, my children are not wired that way, or at least not at this point in their lives.

My intention is always to help, to understand what’s going on in their lives. What has taken me a long time to realize is maybe they don’t want me to know everything they are going through. Maybe they are working it out for themselves, or they want to have something that belongs just to them. I can be a very private person at times. I need to respect that in them.

Even though I was in my 30’s when I had my three children, I feel like I grew up with them. We lived in a small town and I spent almost all my time with them. We all know each other very well. It’s hard for me to pull back and recognize that they have become new people – teenagers and tweens. Yikes!

The hardest part of this journey for me is backing off. I taught college communication classes for 17 years – talking is my life. How can not talking be the answer? Well, apparently sometimes it is. Not talking is a sign of respect when someone you loves doesn’t want to talk. Not talking can give another the space they crave. I’m learning.

It’s taken me a long time to learn to back off if one of my children doesn’t want me to talk. I am sorry it took me so long. It must have been hard for my oldest daughter who persistently held to her guns and taught me a lesson, a lesson that my son also reinforced, that I needed to learn: Sometimes you need to zip your lip.

But, like all lessons in life, I’m grateful.