Saturday, June 6, 2009

It is their emotional risks that cause me to bleed inside

It is the physical risks that I encourage my children to take. I am their spotter, their audience. If they fall, I tell them they can do it again. If they are frightened I lend a hand, and let them gauge their own readiness. Sometimes they need to step back and think about it, before taking that great leap. Sometimes the jump is saved for another day.

It is their emotional risks that cause me to bleed inside. It pains me to see them wounded by another child, especially a close friend. My heart free falls and I feel almost a visceral ache. Perhaps its power is in the echo of my own past wounds and humiliations, yet I cannot help but think it is merely because I am their mother. And my children's pain is my own...

Just as I have been there for their exhilarating firsts...the wonder of rolling over, taking a step unassisted, sailing across the playground monkey bars, so I am here for the tough ones. When your best friend has another friend she'd rather play with today, and you are left on the sidelines. When you don't have the skills yet to join in with the other girls. And you just want your mommy to make it better...

Yes, I talk with them. And, I listen. And, I love them. Fiercely. But, I cannot protect them from life. Or keep them from feeling pain. For to feel that wound, they must have loved, first.

It is love that makes us whole and keeps us going. Love that comforts us and clothes us in our human skin. Of that, I am sure. And that is something I can encourage them to risk...

Painting titled: Alive by Chuck Gumpert.

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  1. yes, it's the same here. Whenever one of mine comes home and says someone has been unkind to them it gives me this searing pain and I long to sort it out for them. And mine are aged 7-20!! I have learnt to just let it go - well kind of - but until I know they are mellow about it (usually really quickly) I can't put it out of my mind.

    Because I know my children are essentially good. But yes, they have to live in the real world, with people who judge them differently to the way I do. And they handle it well as I am sure yours will too.

    I find they are willing to talk about that kind of stuff because they know I will not leap in and interfere.

  2. Guiding my children through relationships -- with their peers and with each other -- is one of the toughest aspects of being a mom. For me, at least. Sometimes it is so tough to know when to just be the listener for them when they've been hurt or to offer suggestions. Often, I realize I am playing it by ear and just doing my best to do a balance of both.

    No one ever said this Motherhood thing was easy. Now that I'm elbow deep in it, I have a much clearer appreciation of what my own mother went through.

    Thanks for your reflections. There is something to be said for taking cues from your children.

    Best, Julia

  3. I feel the same way. And I love the way you wrote this.

  4. I'm gearing up for this, too, when the Queen starts school in August. I have so many vivid memories of being excluded. I only hope I don't project my experiences into their expectations.

  5. It's such a juggling act, between keeping them safe and having them a part of the real world.

  6. you have a great way of reminding me just how challenging and harrowing it can be to be a mother.

  7. Even what is minor to them, causes our hearts to still bleed.

  8. God, I know the feeling.

    We were at a neighborhood festival when Son was about 11, and he and his friends were running around. I saw from across the street where he skidded on the gravel and fell down, and my heart went into my throat. Then I saw his friend Jake stop, turn around, and give him a hand up. I still adore Jake.

  9. Oh yes, hurt feelings HURT. Friendship snubs are so hard.


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