Best Listener

Art of listening, best taught
by the family pooch –
ears attuned to nuances
carefully weeding through
human gibberish
for words that resonate –
treat, dinner, walk, cuddles…

Eyes inviting compassion
conveying depth beyond understanding
and when tone turns impatient
little paws retreat, as if words are blows

If only I could learn to listen
hear the workings of your mind
inquisitive, compelling – imagine
what I might learn….

(Best Listener first appeared here, August 2020. Image my own)

I am Listening, Child

Child of mine,
what rage is this
that sets you against
a younger brother?

What discontent stirs
so deeply within that
you would lash out
at me, your mother?

Let us sit a moment,
and let me, with tenderness
listen, for your anger masks
pain, and I am not so far
removed from childhood
to recognize that tone.

If I have wronged you,
speak, I need to hear it;
if peers are pressuring,
or bullying, or you feel
betrayed, lay it here
in my hands, and I will
comfort you, and offer
what wisdom I have.

Your well-being is sacred
to me; let me hold you –
you’re not too old;  linger
here in my embrace until
the tears come, and the storm
passes; I will hear your fears,
frustrations, and disappointments,
and together we will figure it out.

Child of mine,
I am here for you,
no matter the reason,
your pain is my pain,
talk to me; I am listening.

(Image: confessionsofanadoptiveparent.com)

 

Day 162 “Competitive Communication”

The sound of tinkling glass alerted me to an incoming text and despite the company around me, I had to look.

“A new video of the baby!”  I exclaimed, hitting play before anyone could protest.  (As if that would stop me anyway.)

“Look at how tiny she is,” my friend noted.  “My granddaughter is twice her size.”

“Does she have any teeth?  My grandson has a full set of teeth.”

“Just got her first one.  She is late on that, but so was my other granddaughter.  She’s not talking, either.”

“Neither is my granddaughter, but she being walking for awhile.”

Cellphones emerged from purses and pictures were passed all around.  We all basked in the grandmother’s right to brag, completely oblivious of Sue, who sat quietly throughout the process.  Sue’s children had not produced offspring, nor did it look like they might be close to doing so.

Thor came limping through and I passed him the phone.  “Here’s the latest.”

“How are you doing?”  my friend inquired of Thor.

“Better.  On the mend.  Still frustrated with this leg brace.”

“My cousin’s husband is going through the same thing.  He’s been a year though and it looks like he might lose the leg.”

“I work with a woman who lost her leg.  I hear it’s more common that we think.  Good thing you’re on the mend, Thor.”

Thor had exited the room.

“He’s doing better though, right?”

“Way better!  It has been quite the year.  Wouldn’t want to go through that again.”

Sue remains quiet.  Her husband has been ill for many years, dependent on her.

“What a lot of noise!”  he expressed to me later.  “Do you even hear each other?”

He makes a good point.  In our excitement to “catch up”, my old friends and I talk at each other, competing for air time, but nothing is really said.  In fact, in our need to get a word in, we may have inadvertently created rifts.

I hate this about myself, this need to compete in the conversation.  Someone always gets left out and overlooked, and an opportunity for authentic communication is missed.

Next time, I will remind myself to listen and observe, before jumping in so aggressively.