I have all the tools. Know the reasons it is hard for a certain youngsters heart to trust mine. I know why it is hard for my heart to care for theirs. I know it’s the brain doing it’s job. That important things may have been missed, that trauma leaves it’s marks like crevasses and needs are deep. I’m not a bad mom. They are not a bad kid.
It’s still so hard. I’ve created trainings for other parents about it. I still struggle. When the words cut like a knife and the eyes tear at me, I don’t want to care about their needs. And when I over correct or just correct in an ordinary way even, or when I lose my temper and raise my voice, or when my eyes say to them- not again with you!? Of course their brain says to them that they aren’t safe here. They go straight to survival brain and all seems lost.
Knowing that both of our brains are doing the job of protection helps me to step back and reset myself. Eventually. After I’ve calmed down. But often emotion doesn’t follow my lead and shame comes through the cracks. I pray for help. I cry or spiral. This morning I walked fast on the trail to help my body do its work back to being able to think, back to being able to choose love again.
My first assignment when reading this book was to find 50 points of joy each week. I wanted to. But I haven’t started yet. I know I need to focus and do this practice but I’ve been here before and so it’s hard to start again, even when I know it will help. We have been back to this place a thousand and one times, this kid and their mama.
I know the drill. I know what to do. Remember their preciousness. Visualize the wee babe who needs that mama love. Remember what they missed, all they’ve lost. Remember the sweetness I felt in the beginning. Notice the good about them, make a list and check it twice.
It is hard when the mud on the path is thick and treacherous though. When every step could send you falling. But still, we trudge on. And today on my especially needed and sweaty walk, with legs moving fast and that sweet Spring breeze on such a lovely cloudy morning I started to feel better and to see beauty, almost with every step. I managed to breathe deeply. The stress levels lowered. The brain came back to calm and I could think again.
My thoughts start to swim and then settle, I should have said this, and done it that way, and how do I mend this tear? Should I go take them to lunch? They’ll say no. I’ll feel rejected and we will enter that roundabout again. No I should take care of me today. And write this all down, my way to process it all.
And I’ll start with forgiving their hurtful words. I’ll choose to forgive the cutting stares and the anger sent my way by the fistful this morning. I’ll forgive myself for letting emotion and sorrow throw me off balance, for letting my frustration lead the way. It is not their fault or mine, not the way we might think.
I will say prayers for their hearts all day long today. I will bless them with my words and thoughts about them and not curse them for the rest of this day.
After school I will make sure to look them in the eye lovingly. I’ll ask if they want a snack. I’ll apologize for my part in the terrible way their day started. I won’t ask them to apologize. It’s not the time for learning lessons, repair isn’t.
I will brush by close enough to touch shoulders and say, “excuse me baby, sorry about that”. in a tone that does not sound sarcastic. I will find a way, or twelve or fifteen, to say yes to them about something — anything.
And when they say no to my care over and over again – I will remember it is because they are hurt not bad. I will do my best to hold onto the beauty I saw today and the beauty I remembered about this kid and this mama today. I will.
I will bless them under my breath as they walk away and I will be there when they come back to say sorry, because they are so lovely and almost always come back to say sorry. But even if they don’t. Even if they don’t – I will bless them anyway. This is my plan, and I’m sticking to it. God, please help me to do it. Amen