I have a problem that I’ve been trying really hard to resolve, but it’s difficult to manage and I’m not sure how well I’m doing, but I think it’s important for me to figure out.

You see, the problem is I talk too much.

Anyone who knows me personally might find that statement a little strange. Ever since I was little, I’ve never been one to speak unless spoken to. But for the past three years, I’ve been speaking for two — me and my 3-year-old son — and suddenly it’s a hard habit to break.

I’ve grown accustomed to narrating our (pre-pandemic) grocery trips as we rolled down each aisle, pointing out the characters on mac and cheese boxes and yakking about the first time he tried watermelon. When family and friends ask him questions, I immediately respond for him, a holdover habit from when he couldn’t answer for himself that continues in hopes that he’ll mirror my “please” and “thank you.”

Now that he’s starting to verbalize more eloquently — he likes to tell me to “skedaddle” when he wants to do something himself — I’m suddenly left ... speechless.

Well, at least figuratively. In the literal sense, I find myself talking over him as he tries to answer questions or talking him through a puzzle when he’s looking for pieces or talking at him to belabor my point when he’s been naughty. Talk, talk, talk.

Lately, whenever I feel compelled to say something, instead I’ve been trying to clamp my mouth shut for a short beat. Usually, it’s just enough time for my son to join the conversation — and for me to concentrate on opening my ears rather than my mouth.Turns out he’s got a lot to say — if I take the time to listen.

I think that will be a habit worth keeping.

Do you have an interesting story or observation to share? Write it in less than 200 words, include your name and place of residence, and email it to extra@roanoke.com.

Suzanne Miller is the Features Editor, and edits the Roanoke Times' Discover Magazine. She also helps readers enter calendar submissions and public announcements.

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