Today, when I picked up my youngest from school, she felt tired and weary. We drove home, and rather than wondering why she was whining I just let her be in it, and I sat there in it with her. My mind swirled with all the the things that could be causing this mood. Hurt feelings—was she getting sick? Kindergarten, as we all know, has its magic—but it also has stress for these little people figuring out how the world works.
We got home, climbed out of the car, and trudged to the kitchen. Before preparing a snack I picked her up, held her in my arms and just rocked her.
I never asked her what was going on; I simply remained present and gave her the space to feel whatever it was she was feeling. I let go of my usual feeling that I need to “fix it” for her.
It was a brief moment between us, but in that moment it dawned on me how naturally I want to fix things. My first reaction in many situations is to control, to fix. As a mother and as a woman, it feels like a deep part of myself—this desire to make all things good or to restore balance where there is upset.
I wondered to myself where this comes from.
Perhaps it is an aspect of motherhood but I think it affects other women, too. When faced with discord we immediately feel compelled to problem-solve, to fix and repair. Sometimes this process actually gets in the way of any actual healing that needs to be done, or any feeling that needs to ripen, come to fruition, and release. One of my practices is to work on letting this go; I want to be open and receptive to whatever needs to be. Some emotions might be uncomfortable, but they have a process, a life-span, a cycle.
I want to teach my children to feel emotional freedom. I want to give them tools to overcome. I want to give them grit so that when things get tough, they know they will make it through. I want to help them feel strong.
But today, in my kitchen, my daughter in my arms, I realized that I also want to teach my children that its okay to be sad, too. I want to teach them to be in it, to allow themselves to feel it, to face it, and to know that above all—this, too, shall pass.