Feeding in Different Forms

brown_virginiaIt’s 11pm, I crawl into bed, exhausted and my husband, drowsy with sleep, asks, ‘where have you been?  I thought you came up to bed ages ago.’

I respond, ‘l’ve been giving our 15 year old her 10 o’clock feeding.’  We both chuckle.

When our daughter was a baby, I would nurse her around 10 pm and once she was all cozy, warm and full of my lovely milk, she would drift off into blessed sleep.

But now, as a teenager, she really does not want me to “feed” her.  She is not always thrilled with my cooking and less receptive to my view of the world.

However, I have learned that now at 10pm, she is wide awake and may be more inclined to talk, sharing her day, the dramas in her life, her hopes and dreams, IF  I am there.  So I “check in”, sitting on the side of her bed, asking with simple interest, “how did your day go? What’s up?” and some nights she just opens up with a floodgate of thoughts and feelings.  I just need to be there, willing to give her my ears, to really hear her joys and fears.

Now at 15, I feed her by LISTENING to her life, and now once emptied of her worries, confusions, her life challenges, now emptied, she can sleep and so can I.

Listening requires full attention and an absence of an agenda. I have to empty my mind of my judgments, solutions, directions, my worries and fears for my child. I have to wait to share all the “pearls of wisdom” I have from my experience of life in order to be fully present to my adolescent.  There are times when I will be able to share my observations, fears and knowledge, but first I need to REALLY LISTEN.  Our teens will be more able to hear us if we have listened to them first, attempting with our whole mind and heart to really understand their perspective.



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