Monday, December 6, 2010

Traversing the Conversation Divide

I've never been good at saying something in only a few words when entire paragraphs will suffice. This is, however, a talent I need to perfect if I wish to communicate with my child.

I've seen the signs. The double-digit birthdays. The ever-increasing height differential (that I'm on the losing end of, by the way). The move into middle school.

But throughout it all, I've been able to catch glimpses of my little girl, and they have outnumbered the visits from her evil twin, ever on the horizon.

And although those glimpses linger, they are getting harder to see. And at the same time, my voice is getting harder for her to hear.

These days, I find myself trying to squeeze entire conversations into car rides and commercial breaks. When she was younger, I could claim parental prerogative, and simply commandeer the conversation. As we both grow older, however, it has become clear that although commandeering allows me the luxury of complete sentences, it by no means guarantees that I will be heard.

These days, I have about three words or three seconds to get to the point before her eyes glaze over, and no matter how much silence there is in the room...wait, I can't even finish that sentence. There is never silence in the room. A television, radio, iPod or laptop is always looming nearby, gushing sound.

And so I shall master the art of staccato speech. Rapid fire requests. Drive-by discussions.

And if a leisurely conversation meanders my way, I will cherish it, praying that more of these joyous occasions will present themselves. And if in a time shortly thereafter, I can be seen with her in public, I may simply swoon from the wonder of it all.

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