can’t you tell from the smile on my face?
I spend so many hours teaching my children how to identify their feelings appropriately.
I want them to grow up as empathic, considerate, perspective-taking individuals.
I am not sure exactly why I feel it is SOOOO important for my children to be able to understand another persons feelings.
Maybe, its for me.
Maybe it’s selfish.
Maybe I am selfish.
Maybe its because I have spent the larger part of my life feeling misunderstood.
whatever the reason… I continue to believe it it tremendously important.
So, I will teach my children the basics….
Say please and thank you.
Take your shoes off when you enter someones house.
Don’t take something that doesn’t belong to you without asking.
Don’t overstay your welcome.
Don’t open another persons fridge without permission.
Above all… be kind.
I will spend extra care teaching this last one. KINDNESS.
it is of utmost priority.
Honestly… to hell with all the rest. I suppose I don’t really care what else you do , dear children of mine, but…
be kind. Be caring. Be loving. be warm. be open. show up. be there.
if you see someone upset, in need, crying, feeling left out, or sad-
do something about it.
not big things.. just something small.
Sit still. Listen. Lend an ear and hold a safe space.
extend a hand to help the child that fell from their bike.
run to get a grown-up when the situation is out of control.
talk to me about your day. About your feelings. About your thoughts.
the first kiss. and the quietness you felt walking down the hall alone.
I want you to know how to find the moments in between the talking, the running, the laughing, the working, the connecting, the technology- to find those moments in between.
the culmination of insignificant moments that fill up the majority of our days. our life. your life.
The ones that really matter.
The ones where connection happens.
Sure planning play dates, cook-outs, date-nights, school functions, sleepovers…
of course thats all the fun stuff.
But.. what happens when you find yourself grown-up.
Family make-ups change. Parents pass. Siblings get sick. pets run away.
Colleagues move. Jobs change. Friends come and go.
marriages are nice, but sometimes 1-night-stands feel more appealing in a fleeting moment.
So what then?
I hope to raise children who can put themselves in someone else shoes.
maybe it is so that when I am sad, I know someone will notice. and maybe they’ll sit with me.
And just sit. Just be.
it is honestly as simple and as complicated as that.
as I grow I am learning lifes most precious gift is time.
to give someone your time, when it is truly fleeting and never promised.
that is pure kindness. pure love.
I am raising children to understand the subtleties.
To read between the lines.
To get it- to be there- to show up- without judgement.
If I have done that one thing… to me I will feel as though I have done the job. I have passed the motherhood test.
I will know I have made my impact on the world.
because when my child sees someone smiling, but actually looks into a persons eyes, they won’t be fooled by something as obvious as a smile.
They may take an extra moment…
give a compliment.
Make small talk.
Throw a larger tip on a cheap bill.
Linger a little longer.
Say something that lets someone know, they’ve been there too (and it does pass).
So today I will be sad. I will acknowledge it. I will talk about it. I will feel it. I will not pretend for the sake of the world- to be happy.
I will ask my children to make allowances, and maybe wait a little longer- so that they can learn that being sad/mad/frustrated/heartbroken/happy/gleeful/excited/indifferent/vulnerable (insert “dirty” emotion here), is not a bad thing.
it is not a problem which needs to be tolerated or fixed.
maybe this makes me a bad mom. a selfish mom.
…because on the hard days, I might need more allowances and more support than another mom,
and I may ask for it from dare I say- a child…
a child.. you know… the most empathic, forgiving, generous creatures god created.
And what I believe my children are learning from this….
From allowing- instead of shaming- the emotions in ourselves and in our loved ones.
we will be there for the sadness.
we will be there for the emptiness.
we will be there for the heartbreak.
we will be the for the hard.
we will also be there for…. right in the middle front in center and cheering from the mountain tops-
in the easy
during the triumphs
experiencing the happiness
I will be there for you through the ups and downs- just as you have been for me.
Today is only one day. And today I am sad.
and tomorrow is only a day away.
-second mom club