Living with Introverts

living with introverts

With my son, Charlie, away at college, I now live with two introverts. Both my husband and my sixteen year old daughter are solid introverts. This morning we were all together, which is rather unusual with various schedules competing…so I tried to start conversation. One answer or no answer responses is what I got. Then they both fell asleep, yeah at 11am they fell asleep in our sunroom: Rich on the loveseat, Em on the floor next to the sleeping dog. Boots, our cat, and I were the only conscious beings in the room. I looked at Boots, he looked at me with complete disinterestedness–not even the cat desired to connect.

I felt anger well up inside me. “This is no way to be a family,” I surmised. I felt cheated, for all week long I’d been looking forward to this day that had nothing on the calendar–a day we could spend together. Here we were, together, but utterly disconnected…not even on the same plane of consciousness.

After naptime I suggested a board game. “Later” was the response. Em wanted to delve into English reading and Rich wanted to continue reading a book. Eventually lunch’s pizza was baked and consumed (in almost complete silence) and a couple of board games were played (some interaction there, I guess). Afterward, Rich and I shoveled the driveway, in silence, while Em checked email.

Little has been said today and now I see that Boots and I are again the only conscious beings in the room, well, not quite as Buster, our dog, is in and out. Sleep hangs heavy here today, exhausted by the week’s activities Rich and Em are spent. As introverts they get depleted out there in the world, this is their refuel time–their time away to rest and reflect. It is good, I know, and as it should be, I suppose. At least they want to be home and we are in the same room. Yes, that is something, we are occupying the same space. Maybe that is enough, maybe that is good, maybe that speaks volumes about how we are as a family.

I need to learn to let them be, give them space, and not resent the fact that they aren’t interested in talking to me. We’re together, some people would give arms and legs to be able to be together in safe space with their family members. Why is it that I always want more, want to discuss or interact or hear about the day? I’m interested, I guess, I care…but they see it as intrusive when I inquire. They spin in their own thoughts, their own inner worlds, and when I interject it disrupts their train of thought, it pops their bubble.

So, how to do the rest of the day? Well, after naptime maybe we’ll all sit and watch a movie together (are all introverts movie lovers, or is it just my family?) or maybe we’ll simply all sit in the same room and just be together, probably each doing our own thing. Maybe that is enough, maybe that is good.

Contemplative prayer is akin to this–just being with God with no agenda, no chatter, no activity, no nothing. Just sitting and being together. Yeah, maybe this is my growing edge, learning how to not only just “be” with God but learn how to just “be” with my loved ones. Learn how to be grateful for time “with” instead of resenting all the “withouts”.

Well, I’m still resentful, so I’m not sure journaling about this has helped. I suppose I could ask God to change my heart, help me be grateful for what “is” instead of resenting what “isn’t”. Yeah, I guess I could always pray about it…

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