When we lived in Kansas City, I had a group of friends who annually gathered for an Anne of Green Gables viewing party. I used to turn down the invite and snicker to myself. (Sorry girls!) However, our daughter Adrienne discovered the book series and loved it so much that we downloaded the movie for our own little viewing party. Oh. My. Gosh. It was hilarious! Though… I still feel like a dork admitting that.

Maybe it’s because I am a parent now that I enjoyed it. Like Marilla and Ben, parenting has put us in many situations that are terribly funny in retrospect. And it’s definitely a toss up who talks more, Anne or our son Addison. Never have we wondered what is running through his active mind. Whoever said girls talk more than boys hasn’t spent the day with us. Actually, our daughter is more like one of those giant buckets at the water park that fills and fills until the equilibrium is tipped. It dumps all at once with a great roar. We have to just stay attuned to her timing.

Building a Bridge to Our Kids

Adrienne likes face to face time in order to spill. All Addison needs is his family in at least the next room over. I love these guys! I like peace and quiet too, don’t get me wrong. But what a joy, what an immense gift entrusted to us, to be their number one go to. Communication is the cornerstone of a connected family. Communication cannot wait to occur when there is a crisis or a triumph. We are constructing a bridge, each one to the other, by choosing to regularly and honestly share our real thoughts.

Whenever I was overwhelmed as a tween or teen, confiding in my parents was extremely distressing for me. My tongue would be leaden and my body a solid block of ice. I truly needed counsel but trading a view into my soul was torture.

But now I see myself in my own tween and it makes perfect sense. She tests the bridge by offering seemingly inconsequential things. Our attentiveness reflects her value to us, feeds her trust, and loosens her tongue. She sees we truly want to be invited in and she honors us with her deepest thoughts. Addison takes it more for granted and rushes in with a confidence that won’t expire. Both of these kids need us, in their own way, to be ready and available for them.

Keeping it Clear

These connections don’t happen as deeply or successfully when we allow our lives to grow hectic or our energy diverted to something else. It flows rather naturally though when our priorities are in order. These are the ones placed in our care by God, the people gifted to us to do life with. We don’t want to live separately side by side. We are a family on purpose, intentionally harmonizing with one another.

Written by Melissa Brendtro