When words misfire

When words misfire

My son and daughter hate how I pepper them with questions.

Whether it’s the journalist in me or just overanxious mothering, I have so much to ask them. Always.

They just roll their eyes – there goes Mom again – and balk.

When Jacob entered his senior year in high school, my habit got worse.
Conversation with a teenager can be challenging, but mix in drugs or alcohol, and communication shuts down.

No matter what I tried, he wasn’t talking.

We never talked to each other – just at each other.
My words barely grazed his hearing.
His pierced my heart.

Thoughts came slower. I let them rumble ‘round in my head until they lined up into simple, concise questions, hoping for a response.
In return, he offered monosyllables.

How was work?
And school?
Ok I guess.
Any plans for this weekend?
You look tired. Do you feel okay?

Years later I would learn you can’t argue with or even talk to someone who is high.
I should have known I was talking to OxyContin. Not my son.

Like so much else with addiction, I had to learn to back off. It wasn’t until I stopped asking questions – and he began to ask his own – that I began to get answers.

Today, more than ten years into recovery, conversation has returned.
It is not just the flow of words and phrases and answers to questions. It’s the honesty and self-awareness – and humor – that make every call and every moment in person so very precious.

After all, after the years we missed, there’s so much to say.

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