My days are pretty predictable: Wake up, eat, work, bath, work, commute to the office, work, go home, cook breakfast, sleep. Weekends are also predictable: Wake up, cook lunch or dinner/supper, listen to casual banter, work then sleep.
This Saturday I did something different that I believe will change my son’s life – his view in life. I started talking.
I know I am a good storyteller. But I reserve my stories for people in the office, parties or facebook/blogster. My audience would often be adults and friends that I would spend the whole night with. That is if…IF I am not working. This time it’s different. I decided to talk to my son.
I realized that my son likes tea also. So an hour after dinner, I called out to him and asked him to join me at the dinner table. Just the two of us. I made us tea. Oh it’s just one of those simple Twinnings tea bags, White Tea.
We started talking. First we talked about friends and the kind of friends we have in our lives [I'd quote Aristotle but, that's for another day]. We shared our stories. Not what happens everyday – we do that all the time, but how we feel about our friends. How we FEEL about life. After a moment of silence, I told him:
“You have a problem. It is my problem too and I am sorry that it seems, I passed it on to you. You need somebody to talk to. Not just talking about everyday news, gossip and stories. I am talking about topics that people don’t talk about. You, like me, need to communicate and we look for people who can listen to the subjects we talk about.
“Take for example [A friend's name]. When we talk about news, other people, work..the room comes alive. But try talking about sex, homosexuality, parent-adult-child treatments or even angst or anger or your own feelings… their eyes glaze over. They nod and move on to the next topic. You will find a lot of people who are like that. It’s not that they don’t feel it, it’s because, they don’t know what to say. They don’t even know who they are. They don’t know the words or how to express it without falling apart.
“You can. You do. We look for this connection in people. That’s why we enjoy small and intimate gatherings among friends where we can talk the night away. You will rarely meet people like this because it hurts to open up. Sometimes, it even hurts to think. It hurts to understand why things are the way they are. So, nobody talks. In this day and age, the only connection we get is the internet.”
Then he looks at me and said. “Yes mama. I know. Sometimes I feel alone even when you’re here, or everybody’s here. I want to be able to talk but nobody understands what I am talking about. I want to listen. I want to understand everything or at least express it.”
I then made a promise with him, to share my evening tea time with him. Each weekend. To talk and connect.
To be able to talk without passing judgement. To be able to talk openly, freely about our lives, our fears, our loves, our dreams, our mistakes, our angsts. Everything. To tell the stories my parents and my grandparents told me, lest they be forgotten. To tell the stories of the things that moved us, hurt us and why. A time for talking.
Our tea time. Together. That started today.
*Written; January 7, 2012*