How do you tell your kids how you feel? How do you say what needs to be said? There are so many moments where words escape us. Because we’re stunned. Because we’re scared. Because we’re angry in the moment and it overrides what we wish we could tell them, what we know they want to hear.
It’s important to know that this is okay. Although it would obviously be better if, in that moment when they came to you, about the thing they did, about the thing they needed to tell you, about the thing they’re struggling with, maybe you didn’t. But that doesn’t have to mean the end of the conversation.
The words can escape you in the moment, but as long as you keep talking, as long as you don’t bury your head in the sand and pretend it never happened, you can make up for it in quantity, in beating around the bush, what you missed in that one quality conversation. Don’t agree? Okay, so what’s the alternative? Giving up because you messed up?
No. You have to keep talking. Keep hinting. Explain yourself. Explain your thinking. Don’t you think Pete Buttigieg wishes his parents had kept trying? You think Ted Williams’ daughter liked that her dad just accepted defeat and his limitations? No, she just wanted him to keep trying. She wanted to know that he was trying—because that matters more than the words do anyway.