Conversations with My Kids

Kiki was very animated as she detailed the plans her friends have for a post-high-school-graduation trip to Disneyland. Her description had all the earmarks of a sales pitch. I could tell that she was framing the projected trip to be a safe and well-planned as possible. She wanted permission to go. She finished and waited with bright eyes for my answer.
“You’ll be eighteen next May, whether or not you decide to go on this trip is really up to you.” I said. “But you’ll have to fund it yourself.”
It was a quiet sentence, one I hadn’t anticipated before hand. When the words were out of my mouth, I felt the truth of them and was startled not to have a stronger emotional reaction. Next May Kiki will be legally an adult. Contemplating it doesn’t feel scary, because it is only a small step from where we are already. She’s an amazing person.

Link was asked to give a talk in church, which is something that he dreads. He and I discussed this at length and I tried to help him identify the feelings he’s filled with lately. His emotional repertoire has tended toward sullen and angry of late. He recognizes this and doesn’t like it, but isn’t sure how to make it stop.
“You realize we couldn’t even have had this conversation six months ago?” I asked. “I’m actually really impressed with you right now.”
A hint of a smile quirked the corner of Link’s mouth. The remainder of the conversation was not smooth and did not end in sunshine and puppies, but at least he heard those words. He was less pleased with words about weak things becoming strong and the fact that Moses wasn’t a great public speaker either. Perhaps he’ll never give another talk in church, but I fully mean for him to be able to self-spectate the reasons why.

Long ago I wrote a blog post where I looked forward eagerly to having adult conversations with my kids. Here I am. It isn’t always easy, but it is pretty awesome.