Well, another holiday season has come and gone in the blink of an eye. It seems like I was just setting up the fresh mini pumpkins to decorate my kitchen table for Halloween ’23 and now it’s the second week of ’24!
This past Thanksgiving and December holiday season was yet another first for me personally and I feel compelled to share my thoughts.
My oldest son was coming home from out of state, for his first extended college break and of course I was looking forward to being with him and spending as much time with him as possible. Listening to him share all about how his first semester wrapped up, how his fraternity rush and initiation went and the assortment of “info nuggets” that flow over the course of the break. My boys were 3 and 7 when divorce turned and twisted their lives (and mine) around. They are now 15 and 19 and the journey has been…well a journey.
Every divorce creates its’ own waves to surf. Some waves are huge and crash over you, making you tumble and scramble to catch your breath, while other waves are easier to ride out. I feel that over the past 12 years I have leaned into the many waves head-on and have adjusted well over time. For me, the scenario I was dealt enhanced my communication skills even more. Whether it was high emotion conversations or day to day chats…I realized that if I was clear and concise in my conversations, it would be beneficial
Splitting time with your kids is hard, period. Now, I m not self-promoting myself here, just stating the facts. I have always…and will continue to put my boys first. I made this declaration front and center in my opening of my TEDx Talk I gave late last year: https://youtu.be/2cU1FAJItFk?si=Gcp8rnlcU1dFu4Ul
My boys are my top priority, always have been and always will be and to be clear, sharing them is not always easy but it’s the right thing to do.
So, over the holidays I mentally prepared myself to make yet another adjustment, not seeing my oldest every day while he was home on break. It makes my heart ache, but I told myself to make every conversation count.
The daily tidbits, the sports small talk, (or in our apartment, sports big talk!) the chats about his fraternity pledge class, his newfound interests on eating healthy, working out and the wide range of other topics that organically pop up. Not being able to share those conversations daily was an adjustment…. because anyone who has a teen knows full well that there are days that sharing dialog simply doesn’t happen!
Without forcing anything, I did my best to make every conversation count. What does that mean exactly? To me it was, no matter if I was in the middle of sending a work e-mail, paying bills, or hustling around making dinner….if there was an opportunity for me to listen to my son, I was all in. If there was an opportunity for me to connect with him on any topic, I was all in. Didn’t matter about the topic, the time, or anything else. It was about making him and our conversations a priority. From this new experience, I have committed myself to make every conversation count, regardless of who it’s with or what it’s about.
Whether it’s small talk at work, deep conversations at home, or the variety in-between, in my opinion, they are all meaningful in their own way. Will you make every conversation count in 2024?