Processing Emotions

Hello, friends!  I had a blog post planned out for today about another special person, and while this one will still be about someone special, it isn’t what I originally had in mind.  Isn’t that how life happens?  You plan for one thing, and then something happens that makes you say, “Nope.  Today I have to talk about this.”  So here we go, and you will get the other post somewhat soonish, if my crazy chaotic schedule decides to cooperate.  

I had Girl2 my normal days this week, and on Thursday when we were going to bed, she had a meltdown.  She started to cry because she missed her father and she wanted to see him.  It’s hard in these situations to not feel bad for many reasons.  She has done this before, and it internally upsets me, because you feel like you aren’t good enough, or maybe they love the other person more than you. One can easily become a little bitter at these times, and it can be really, really, hard to deal with this impartially.

Growing up, I was told not to cry a lot.  The message I got was, “It’s a tough world, Sweetheart, and crying shows weakness.  We don’t cry for things.”  Sometimes it was, “If you want to cry, I will give you a reason to cry.”  I learned, crying is not something you do freely, it is shameful most of the time, and a very negative thing.  

In the span of about a minute, my mind raced. I knew a lot depended on how I reacted in this moment.  I thought about her, and her situation, rather than myself.  I thought about how it could feel to be 5 and have everything I knew change so drastically.  At 5 years old, one is not equipped to understand adult relationships.  One does not know how a marriage could fall apart.  One does not know how or why these things happen, they only understand how it changes them.

And that is okay.

So in that minute, I did what I thought I could do, and that was just understand.  I told her it was okay to cry.  In fact, I invited her to let it all out.  I explained to her that she is very loved, by myself, her father, and anyone lucky enough to know her.  I told her I understood that she missed him and that this must be very hard on her.  I held her in my arms while she cried and we talked about how I felt when my mom went through a divorce and how confusing it was.  She asked me to read her a story, and I did.  She asked me to sing to her, and I sang “You are my Sunshine.”  She came in at the end (we just don’t sing one verse; we have them all down) and sang back to me in a teary voice and went to sleep, cuddling her stuff animal and telling me she loved me.

I think to this date, with all of my three children, this was most likely my best parenting moment.  I hate the situation it stemmed from.  I hate that in order to feel to better myself I had to cause her tears.  In that moment, I had a choice.  I had the choice to give her the message of “It’s a tough world, Sweetheart.  Toughen up.” or “You have emotions, and sometimes it is a tough world, and it’s okay to react to those moments and do what you need to do to get through them.  Tomorrow will be another day, hopefully a better one.”  I chose the latter, and that made all the difference,

I know it’s a tough world.  She will know it’s a tough world.  She will now also know she can come to me, express her feelings and tears.  I will hug her, sing her a song, and just listen.  I will relate.  I will love, even when sometimes that love hurts my heart to make me want to cry myself.

Maybe the world would be a bit nicer if we just had someone to sing us a song when we are sad.



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4 responses to “Processing Emotions

  1. You are, quite simply, a great Mom.

  2. She’ll learn that things are hard often enough. Knowing that she can turn to you and expect empathy and love at any moment is a priceless lesson that you taught her before she has to face the really big bumps that she might have to toughen up for. Knowing the support is there is what makes us tough when we need it. You did it perfectly.

    • It’s amazing how much can run into your mind in the span of about 1 minute. This moment is always going to stay with me, because out of all the responses, this one came. Thank you, because as I told my friend, and I am sure you know, sometimes parenting just isn’t easy.

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