Listen and Hear and Love

I have recently been sucked into all the hype of Oprah’s final shows.  Love her or hate her, I think anyone would find it hard to argue against the fact that she has done some amazing things for all of her viewers.  I love anyone that promotes self-discovery, encourages taking care of yourself, and promotes the power that each individual has within. Today’s show had me tears.

One of the segments on her show focused on 2 children whose parents were divorced – the mom left and never looked back.  My heart broke for the two children. Both children ache for their mom.  Lucky for them, they have one awesome father.  The pyschotherapist on the show, Dr. Gary Newman, discussed the importance of being honest with children during a divorce.  He also said something that hit home with me.

If you listen and you hear and love that kid, you are enough.  You and every single parent out there—you are enough to set your child up for love for the rest of their lives.

The one ultimate truth about children is that they want to be heard (Isn’t that true for everyone?). Listening to them validates who they are – it sends the message that they are enough. They are valued. They are worth listening too. It is the best gift we can give to our children. It can be so easy to not-listen.  If your child is anything like mine, they talk a lot. Cole can ramble on and on and on for hours. Some days, I don’t care about Pokemon. Some days, I can get frustrated when he is a perfectionist.

As a parent, I want nothing more than to be enough.  I want to create an environment for him where he can flourish and feel confident and comfortable in his own skin. I often over think my approach to creating this environment for Cole. In reality, it is simple. All I have to do is listen.  All I have to do is validate who he is and the things that he is talking about – from Pokemon to insecurities about being small to moments of frustration.

Sometimes all we need to do is say something out loud and receive acknowledgement from those who are listening. Sometimes no response is needed. We just want to be heard.

There will always be days when I have heard enough about video games, Pokémon, and all Cole’s other 7-year-old interest, but I promise to listen.  Listening to these simple silly things model communication.  When there are bigger issues that he may want to talk to me about, he will know that I listen.

While today’s segment was about single parenting and divorce, I don’t feel like I’ve ever fit into either of those categories (even though I have been divorced, and I have been a single-mom).  I am so lucky to have a wonderful husband who thinks of Cole as his own son.  Cole is lucky enough to have a step-dad who he considers a dad.  I am also lucky to have an ex husband I don’t hate.  Sure! He drives me nuts sometimes! We don’t always do things the exact same way when it comes to parenting.  But we get along. We communicate. We love our son.  Cole has 4 awesome parents – a mom, a dad, a step-mom, and a step-dad.  He’s also surround by the love of all 4 families.  I hope he never feels the void of having divorced parents, but I’m sure there will be days when he questions it.  I hope he learns to recognize all the love that is around him.  I hope he grows up feeling worthy, validated, and listened to.

Speaking of growing up feeling worthy, validated, and listened to – my own dad wrote the sweetest comment on my blog yesterday! I love you dad! I might be 31 and a mother, but I’m still his daughter.  Your comment let me know you were listening, and I love you for raising me to feel worthy and validated in life!

At the end of the day, we are all children. We all want to be heard. We all want to feel validated. We all want to feel worthy of feeling and experiencing life. At the end of the day, we should all want to be parents as well. We should all want to be enough for those around us. We should listen and hear and love everyone we come in contact with.  Thank you Oprah for reminding me of this today!

Two men I love more than anything walking me down the aisle to the other man I love!
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