Connecting with my kid

My middle son is less than a month away from turning 20 years old. He’s really quite the enigma. He’s quiet and pretty shy and mostly keeps to himself. But lately I’ve been feeling bothered by the fact that we were once so close when he was younger and aren’t anymore.

I got a chance to talk to him tonight and it turned into a really good conversation that lasted almost 3 hours. I basically told him what I said here: that we used to be so close and that I missed it. And that it was really strange as a parent to know that you gave birth to someone but barely feel like you know them.

Maybe it was the tears in my eyes when I said that which got him to open up. He admitted that he didn’t really open up to anyone about the “big stuff,” though he has plenty of friends to talk to about the little stuff. Oddly enough (or maybe not) he said he felt more comfortable talking to me about the big stuff than he does to anyone else in the family. He’s just a very private and reserved person.

He caught me up on the music genres he’s listened to since his freshman year of high school (yes, it really has been that long since we discussed it.) We both view music as a very personal thing so I was pleased that he shared that with me. I was also surprised to learn that he had at least a year of high school when he listened to heavy metal music—surprised because it seems so unlike him. I was especially amused that he said he got really into Megadeth for a while and said it got him through the horrible experience of going to high school.

Our conversation bounced around a lot after that but I came away from it with one clear overarching message: he thinks we did a good job raising him. We also talked about the ways both my husband and I were raised and he commented on how much he respected our efforts to do better than how we ourselves were raised. He also said that he feels safe at home and like his privacy is respected, which is important to him.

I walk a fine line between wanting to respect his privacy and wishing he’d sometimes let me into his world. And tonight he let me into his world and I got to see that he’s a really good kid. He’ll probably always be more reserved than I’d prefer but it feels good to really connect on a deeper level once in a while.

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