"What are you watching?"
"Oh." He turned to leave.
"Trying to find something to watch?" I called to him, knowning he wasn't interested in whatever PBS program his daddy was watching downstairs.
"No. Just bored."
This is teen-speak for, "You told me to get off the computer, now I have nothing to do despite the stacks of books, bins of Legos, and other assorted boy-toys belonging to me, all for the sole purpose of enriching entertainment."
It wasn't long and he was back. In the dim light of the room, I thought I could just make out a grin. He climbed onto the bed beside me. "I have a secret." He leaned over, face down, hiding his face in his hands.
My mind spun with the potenital information I was about to be given. It was the first time such a declaration had been uttered in this fashion.
"Uh. Um. I -- " He doesn't seem upset, but definitely embarrassed. He wiggles.
"You can tell me. What are you afraid of? Am I going to be mad?"
"Glad? Happy? Are you afraid I am going to laugh? Or say something?"
I am flummoxed as to what this is. But I have to know, now. Soon. "What if you wrote it on a piece of paper?"
He jumps of the bed like an Olyimpic hurdler and is smiling ear to ear. "Yes! That will be easier," and he leaves to find paper.
On his return, he hands me a notebook, his secret freshly written on the top page.
The secret is big. The secret is good.
We talk for awhile about said secret. I am careful, trying to make that precarious balance of asking enough questions to prompt converstation and avoid feeling like it's an interview. The door of communication has squeaked open and my fear is that he will slam it closed, lock it, and throw away the key. If I don't handle this properly, he won't come back.
In this phase of growning up where most of the words that come out of my mouth are deemed unintelligable, and I am told, "You don't understand," it's hard to describe what his sharing his secret meant to me. I've worked hard to build a honest and open relationship with my children. All of my words of encouragement and understanding seem to fall on deaf ears.
Perhaps he was listening to me after all.