When Bad Things Happen
When your child experiences loss how do you become the salve to their open wounds? I’d experienced many things that my parents never helped me get through. So when I became a mother, I sought to be the mother I always envisioned; the one from television shows who knew exactly what to say; the one who could fix any problem, remedy anything.
After I became a mother I got a huge reality check! First of all, motherhood is nothing like it is on television. Secondly, I didn’t have all the right words. In fact, often, I had none—at least none that I could utter that would make things right again.
So I settled for the nonverbal communication people often pay attention to. They say a mother’s arms, her touch soothes; I suppose it does in some ways.
Why? It’s familiar, like the arms that once swaddles us, or carried us from birth. We instantly feel at home there. We feel safe.
When our dog Sampson died, I did that for my daughter. I held my tween daughter, letting her hot tears drench my shoulders as I pushed her hair out of her face. Undone, I grabbed the box of Kleenex, grabbed the fleece throw blanket because I’m always cold.
I knew she would say something about this. Her typical “ugh! Mom, that blanket’s too hot!” was the familiar whine I wanted to hear. And where words failed, I’d wrap my daughter up in my arms.
Sampson, her best friend/pseudo sibling, seemed knowledgeable about my daughter’s moods. He always seemed to know what she needed. In his caramel beagle eyes, she found security and entrusted him with her middle school secrets. When she had a difficult time making friends, Sampson was her friend.
So now that he was gone, I had no words with which to console her, except to remind her that he loved her and had been a good friend to her. Of course, this brought more tears.
Whenever the film, Marley and Me came on, I fought the urge to change the channel. She wanted to see it. It was cathartic for her because it helped her cry it out and grieve.
For weeks, when she tried to wonder off alone I’d call her to me, where she’d sit silently. My parental ears would dissipate for the occasional babble. In my arms, she found that grief could be handled; that pain didn’t have to last; that I’d hold and shield her and smile when she needed me to. Ultimately, she found that when bad things happened, in my arms, she could find solace.
So what types of routines do you have in place to handle the unexpected or occasional hardships your child experiences in life?
***N. Meridian is a proofreader, editor, ghostwriter, soon to be author of "No Crying for Elena," YourTango Expert and freelance writer of various subjects. You can follow her on Facebook at www.facebook/#!/inameridian. You can also reach her directly at email@example.com.***