Last night my son finished reading and asked to be tucked into bed. It’s our usual routine for me to lay next to him and talk about his day. He was unusually quiet and I asked if he wanted to just cuddle tonight. Enthusiastically he pulled my arm around him and said yes. I had to fight the urge to say anything. I usually use this time to praise him for his accomplishments and to discuss important issues. Sometimes we talk about serious topics like soldiers dying at war, or where babies come from (I always say love). Other times we talk about childhood challenges like how to help a friend who is getting picked on by a bully; or techniques to improve his study skills. We often laugh at silly jokes. The point is we ALWAYS talk, and last night I had to fight my urge to intervene with words of wisdom. I’m not very good at silence.
But I perservered and sat quietly holding my son. After a few minutes I started to get up to go, he pulled tighter and said don’t leave yet. Thankful he still wants Mom to tuck him in at night I laid back down; my mind wandering to the laundry that needed to be put away, and my email that needed to be checked.
After a few minutes I felt him visibly relax, and noted that I too had stopped making a mental to do checklist. I kissed him good night, whispered sweet dreams and quietly left his room. Afterwards it dawned on me that perhaps Nicky had showed me the most important lesson of all. It’s not always what you say that matters most; its what you do that makes a difference. Last night my son needed, or perhaps more correctly he knew I needed to simply slow down. And he in fact showed me how. Silence really can be the best advice.