Jen writes

January 2, 2013

If I Were You

Listen.

Listen to the sounds of your family: the battery-powered Hess helicopter and accompanying utterances of “cool” by your son; the gentle foot taps of your featherweight eldest daughter, upstairs, forever practicing her emboites; the breathing of your slightly congested younger daughter, sitting beside you on the bed watching Caillou as you type; the door opening and your Sweetie tapping his boots against the sill to dislodge the snow.

Listen to your children. Listen to them playing and dancing and living beside you. Also, listen for their hopes and fears. Listen for their pride and their uncertainty. Listen to know when they need you and when they want only to share with you. Listen with your ears and your eyes and your body. Listen especially with your arms wrapped around them and your lips to their foreheads.

Listen to your Sweetie. Listen to the reports of his day. To his daily offerings of the weather forecast. To the sound of him stirring your coffee every morning. (Then listen to his footsteps as he delivers it to you, wherever you are in the house.) Listen for the Sweetie of 14 years ago. The one you fell in love with, in that perfect, indelible instant that changed your life forever. Listen for his pride and his wisdom and his utter calm, always. Listen to know when he needs you and when he wants only to share with you. (Listen to know the difference.) Listen with your eyes and your ears and your soul. Listen especially with your body wrapped tightly around his.

Listen to know how much you have. In this home. In this life. This family. Listen for the love. The promise. The creativity and intelligence and humanity that make up your every day. Listen to all of it. To every morsel of sound and silence, all adding up to the feast that is a few moments of your rich, rich, filled-to-the brim life.

Listen to it all.

Listen.

 

Read More in Jen Writes, three kids
Rudri Bhatt Patel @ Being Rudri writes

I love this. We forget to listen to all of the ordinary graces in our lives.
Is this your word of the year? Sounds like it.

Happy New Year! May 2013 be filled with light, love, and happiness.

Reply

Jen replies

Thanks, Rudri. Can you fill me in on this “word of the year?” I’ve seen mentions of it everywhere, but where did it come from? If I were to choose one word, “listen” would be on the shortlist. Happy 2013 to you and your family!

Reply

Anri writes

Thank you for this. I have been having a particularly crappy/stressful day and this is just what I needed to take my brain from the swirling mess it’s been and get it back to where I need it to be.

Reply

Jen replies

I’m sorry about your stresses. And I can empathize with those overwhelming feelings. My way to get back to where I need to be is to write it out. Thanks for commenting! (Hope to see you in June!)

Reply

Justine writes

What a post to kickoff the new year. It gave me chills. Yes to the sounds, to being so full of life. Yes to all of it. Sometimes we’re so busy thinking of the right words to say and things to do that we forget that often times, all we have to do is listen. As Wendell Berry says, “what we need is here.”

Reply

Jen replies

I love Wendell Berry’s words. And can’t you see him listening as he wrote that? Happy New Year to you and your family, Justine!

Reply

Varda (SquashedMom) writes

Love this. Thank you. Just beautiful, and a timely reminder as life ramps up into post-holidays high gear again.

Reply

Jen replies

Hi Varda. Thanks so much. There’s never enough down time, is there? Happy New Year to you!

Reply

Heather writes

Beautiful!

Reply

Jen replies

Thanks, Heather! Happy New Year!

Reply

facie writes

Great, great post. I almost stood up and clapped (but I am too comfy under the covers). I tried to do this, a little, today as I feel sadness in sending my 9-year-old back to school tomorrow after almost two weeks off. But I need to listen more. This I know.

Reply

Jen replies

Facie, you’re so kind. Thank you. I know what you mean about sending the kids back. Even though we all were sick sick sick over break, I wanted more time together as a family. And now, back to school, and dance lessons, and basketball practices, and drum and piano and and and! Happy New Year!

Reply

amy writes

Another gorgeous piece, Jen. Thank you so much for sharing. Slowing down to listen, really listen is the most delicious treat.

See you around.

Reply

Jen replies

Hi Amy! Thanks so much for continuing to read (and comment!) Hope your New Year is off to a good start.

Reply

Kim writes

This is beautiful, and an incredible way to start off a year.

Reply

Jen replies

Hi Kim. Thanks so much. I hope your year is off to a good start. Moving, right? Good luck!

Reply

Mel Gallant writes

I’ll admit my listening skills were not the best in 2012. Aiming to be much more focused on listening in 2013.

Reply

Jen replies

Mel, For me I feel like to be a better listener I need to (wait to) talk less. I’ve been trying it for a while, and when I succeed it feels SO GOOD! I might write a few more listening posts as they come to me. Stay tuned. And Happy New Year!

Reply

Amy @ Never-True Tales writes

Just lovely. Thank you.

Reply

Jen replies

Thanks, Amy. Happy New Year to you and your boys!

Reply

Alexandra writes

This post brings me peace. I have felt this, just this same altered sense of perception, since Sandy Hook.

Sounds I never heard before. How could I have been like that?

xo

Reply

Jen replies

Alexandra, I know what you mean. I feel like all of my senses have been fine tuned. For me it’s since July, when Sweetie had a heart attack. It’s as if I am trying to NOTICE everything. The good, the bad, the noisy, the quiet, the success, the failures. And the sunrises and sunsets that come every day and so often are taken for granted. Happy Happy New Year and lots of love to YOU!

Reply

Elaine A. writes

Oh wow, this is just beautiful. I wish I could be more still and just listen. Everyone is coming up with a word for the new year and I may have just found mine through your gorgeous post here.

Happy New Year to you!

Reply

Jen replies

Hey Elaine, This word-for-the-year thing really has me puzzled. I think I did it accidentally! Thanks so much for reading and for your kind words. I hope your New Year is off to a great start!

Reply

Cathy writes

This is a great piece of writing – a different way to remember all the little things, to be present, to understand your perspective. Love it Jen. Happy New Year!

Reply

Jen replies

Happy New Year, Cathy! Thanks for your continued support and friendship. Maybe 2013 is the year we meet in person! :)

Reply

Galit Breen writes

Absolutely love this.

Love. This.

Reply

Shawna writes

Listening can be so peaceful. Really hearing all the bits of your life. Love. Beautiful way to start 2013, Jen!

Reply

Julia writes

Wow this is just wonderful. Tomorrow I’m going to listen. So glad I read this.

Reply

Kat writes

Elaine sent me and I’m so glad that she did. A perfect post. Something I definitely need to be reminded of. Thank you!

Reply

Sisters from Another Mister writes

I have a ONEWord link up for the month of January, and a dear friend Elaine, linked and mentioned your post as her inspiration. So I dutifully came over to read, and then I cried.
And then I had to write to you and tell you that you are so very right.
I did not listen, and my life has forever changed.
There is always a small voice, we should always pay attention to it.
Listen.
So true.

Reply

Jen replies

Thank you. Thankyouthankyouthankyou.

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: