You can prepare a nice dinner. Plan an exciting dessert. Offer additional video time before landing the blow.
But eventually, the conversation needs to happen…
Me: Hey. We need to talk about something coming up…
Him: <dramatically> Oh, no! OH, NO! It’s going to bad. BAD!!
Me: How do you even know that?!
Him: <like he’s auditioning for a thriller> I just know! OH. MY. GOD!
Me: You know… (what is it with men and the whole “we need to talk” intro that is so disastrous), next time I tell you that we need to have a conversation, I am going to say something like – ICE CREAM FOR BREAKFAST ALL WEEK! – or something like that, so you can learn to realize that it could be ANYTHING that we need to talk about. Not just “bad” things.
Me: I’m just sayin’.
He shoots me a dirty look.
But one of those dirty looks that’s hiding a giggle.
I go in for the kill…
Me: Unfortunately, tonight is not going to be the ice cream talk. It is a serious bit of news. First, though, get in your video time and I’ll get your diffuser* ready.
*Lavender and Balance. Scents that help promote a calm feeling. Yep. I’m not a newbie at this game. And I know that his response is actually a empathic reaction to my own inner turmoil. I can play it cool all I want to — he knows when there’s unrest in the Momma. He’s known me all his life, after all.
I lay beside him in bed and break the news of CHANGE.
BIG CHANGE IS AHEAD.
He doesn’t handle it well.
Anything that requires him to consider added responsibility, the process of growing up, of being self-sufficient on his own, he struggles. And that might be too-weak a word to use, but you get the idea.
I hang in there.
Give him examples. Give him options. Give him answers.
He fights. Tooth and nail. Tears. Wailing and gnashing of teeth.
And then he runs out of gas, he stills.
And…I hang in there.
We’re quiet for a time.
I touch his forehead to brush his bangs back. He doesn’t resist. And I spend a few minutes running my fingers through his fauxhawk. It’s a calming motion – for both of us.
He asks a question.
I answer it.
He asks another one.
I answer it.
He’s less dramatic. Realism and preference are starting to color his conversation with me.
And we’ve crossed over another bridge together.
He’s going to make it.
I’m going to make it.
We’re going to make it together – and be fine.
More than fine.
We’re going to thrive.
Me: Look, man. Change is life. I know that this big change is coming, but it’s going to be awesome. Our future is filled with light, with ALL THE GOOD THINGS. We’re going to be happy and have opportunities we’ve never had before. That’s what I want you to focus on. I don’t know exactly how it’s all going to unfold. And sure, the unknown is a little worrying, but I have hope for the best. And yes, it’s sad to leave behind the things that we know, the way of life that we’ve come to enjoy, but we can’t move on to better things if we don’t let go of the past to embrace the future. I don’t want you to look at change as bad. It’s just different. But we have to believe it’s going to be a better different. Okay?
Him: <tentatively, but coming along for the ride on his own volition> Okay.
Him: I love you.
Me: I love you too.