Sunday, November 28, 2010

This emotional life

The other night my daughter was begging for some Mommy and Me time. I am ashamed that I often put off these times of quiet togetherness because of random busy-ness. Thankfully, we did get that time together.

While laying in bed, we began to wrestle. I hurt her and she began crying—man! There are few things that make me feel smaller than making a little kid cry!! I held her and said that I was sorry. She responded that she knew and didn’t know why she was crying, and had tried to hold it back. Ah!

I told her to go ahead and cry, and I understood the need to just cry. She said that she used to be tough, and never needed to cry. She’s right. Even as a baby and toddler she only cried when angry. If I disciplined her, she was indignant rather than remorseful. I used to worry about her, frankly.

But she explained that now she felt everything so much more than before—anger, jealousy, sadness and happiness. And on top of that, she was dealing with the wonder of all these feelings as though they themselves were new. She said that she even gets shyer now, and embarrassed when her daddy dances with her in front of people. I had to laugh.

We are embarking on an emotional journey for the next few years. I am thankful that I have a relationship with my girl that we can actually talk it out. I am thankful that embarrassment doesn’t translate into disrespect, jealousy gives way to understanding and compassion, and rage dissolves into repentant tears.

I know how my husband and I act and react to her in the coming years will play such a big part in how she sees herself, how she regains control over emotionalism and the degree to which she will trust and depend on us. I pray I am responsive enough to make time for Mommy and Me, intuitive enough to recognize the root of problems, and patient enough to bear whatever she throws our way.

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