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This too shall pass


July 10, 2018

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I watched my daughter’s heart break a few weeks ago. It was one of the hardest things to witness since she was born 10 years ago. I did not know how to fix, make it stop, make it better, redirect or somehow remove that pain for her. My daughter is artistic, empathetic and feels — I mean really FEELS — when she reads, watches and listens.

I am sitting with my daughter on the bed and she is drawing the most melodramatic, sad illustration, tears dripping off the word “sad.” A kitten drenched in the rain, head down, large eyes ever so slightly looking up, tears run together with raindrops down her tail to a puddle surrounding her paws.

A friend had broken her heart, rejected her. Most of us who have experienced this disappointment as an adolescent realize this will happen more than once and especially during the tween years. The very person that broke your heart is possibly a best friend the very next day. As children, these incidents build foundations for self-protecting coping techniques we use in adulthood.

I asked her if she wanted to talk. Her chin begins to quiver. I’ve known there was some drama going on between friends, but unfortunately this was her turn to be cast out. The difference this time is that it was a trusted friendship and really affected my daughter. She is usually pretty immune to the superficial hazing treatment; being called different, weird and whacky for a few years now. She has a unique, eccentric and positive personality, and bounces along to her own drum.  This was unexpected negative treatment from a friend that had been by her side for a while and she was heartbroken. She cried uncontrollably and I held her as she said things like “I wish I never met her” and “I just want to stop thinking about her.” Her little body trembled in my arms and I couldn’t stop my own sympathetic tears. I knew what she felt. I know what it feels like to not want to love or care for someone whom no longer cares for you.

How do you explain to a child that we cannot control how others feel? “Eyes red, glossed over with tears, nose stuffed up, through short breaths, she looks and me and asks desperately, “How?”

I did my best and explained that there are and will be so many other friends in her life. I tried to reassure her that there may be things going on with her friend that she doesn’t understand. And the most important thing I could think of while rocking her on my lap, “This will pass, honey. This too shall pass.”

The worst is feeling the pain a child is feeling and not having a solution for removal. The best solution I know is to be there and share the pain with them so they are not alone. I don’t “know” how to do any of the parenting stuff the exact way it should be done. Is there an exact way? No child is the same so how can “exact” be determined?

I do know that I will ask if they want a hug, be there if they need me to cry on, and give them moments alone if that is what they need. Not really too much different then we need as adults!

A few weeks later, school has ended and classroom girl drama is at a manageable level. I’m in a frenzy around the house. Best possible description: It’s just trashed. There isn’t a better word for it. I’m in the midst of the tween and pre-teen transition purge for both my children (toys, clothing, furniture, etc.).  I get overwhelmed and something hit me. I sat down, head in my hands, a tear dripping to my knee. My daughter comes over to me and pats me gently, resting her head against mine, “Mom, it’s OK…..this too shall pass.”

And I smile.


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