Wednesday, June 17, 2015

owning it

"Are you mad at me?" She asks.

"No." I don't hesitate because I don't feel mad. And I don't tell her but maybe I should say that me being mad wouldn't have anything to do with her. If I was mad it would be about me. But I'm not mad.

So I ask, "Why do you think I'm mad?"

"Because, you know, I haven't been practicing."

"Oh no. Mad is not how I feel. I've been working a lot lately and I went to the beach and I heard you weren't practicing and I don't know. Maybe you could help me with this. If one day you have a niece and you both decide she wants to play the guitar just like we did and you do it just like I did it and get her a guitar and arrange lessons and practices and go wherever she is to listen to her practice everyday for only thirty minutes.

And that's all. Thirty minutes. That means twenty-three hours and thirty minutes left of a day to do whatever it is she would like to do that day. And you find out like I did that without you there she could not do that thirty minutes a day she committed to. How would you feel? What would you do?"

She does not have any problem with eye contact. She owns it when she answers, "I don't know."

"Me either."

And here we are. She understands me. She has empathy.

"It's just that it's not any fun when nobody is there to listen."

"Yeah. Learning can be fun, but it's not always. Sometimes it's hard. Sometimes I don't want to write and sometimes I wonder why I do and when I wonder I have to find my answer and remind myself of why everyday even when it's not fun I still have to do it. And that answer can change and I can always wake up and decide I won't do it anymore. You can decide that or you can think about that goal which is what? six years from now?"

She nods.

Today I am grateful for a photograph, for more than one kid who was able to make eye contact and own what she was feeling. And I know they write a million books on how to parent and how to teach but not so much on you should most likely take up another hobby and there are people on this earth that I look at and think, Man! I wish I could do it like them. So maybe it's not too early to start being rather than just wishing. And maybe the nod meant we got past the futility where we connected.

Or maybe not.

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