We’ve been going through a great deal of stress lately. Each of our extended families have had tumultuous upsets. Actually, that’s not entirely accurate.
Each of our families have had tumultuous upsets quite a long time ago, only we have not truly understood and accepted the changes until recently. It seems we tend to act upon our changing worlds long before we register the change in our minds.
Needless to say, we’ve been a bit of a mess lately. Try as we have, it’s been impossible to completely isolate our children from the rocky waves that have tossed our family about. Primarily, this comes through in subtle ways. I admit that recently I have not had the energy and enthusiasm to initiate activities with my children as I once did. Acknowledging this grieves me greatly. It can be understood as a shift in relationship balance, like a teeter-totter on a fulcrum.
They ask me to read a book rather than me calling them to climb into my lap. They take the crayons from the shelf rather than me initiating a craft with them. They initiate the songs and ask me to join in to sing. Generally, while I’ve been processing things, they have pursued me rather than me pursuing them. It’s a subtle shift, but it’s a meaningful one that affects everyone’s overall behaviour. We all like to be pursued, after all.
Now that we’re emerging from this difficult stretch with our extended families and returning to our old selves, I notice it as much with the kids as I do with my own personal outlook. The kids are smiling again. I tickle them and they laugh as they always did. They are eager to sing and run with me as we did before. We make pillow forts again. Their old mom is back!
Which brings me to the light of children. It’s an unfortunate thing when a parent goes through a difficult phase, but perhaps part of growing up is learning that people can feel sad or stressed and return from it. Life is not a flat road, after all. Children grow to understand that love remains constant when everyday activities change. They realise that they can initiate activities with me and I’ll always join in, even if I’m not feeling myself. Parents aren’t perfect and the purity of a child’s hug is the best medicine for any ill. Children impact their world in very positive ways just by showing their wonderful light.
And now that I am back to the one pursuing them – on the floor playing, making up the silly songs, thinking up art ideas – they can know that when we as a family encounter bumps along our road we will pull through to find a new normal. Together.
Kat Lehmann believes we are all in the process of becoming and have a choice in what we become. She is a scientist who writes prose poetry about parenting and nature, and can be found sneaking outside to look at the moon when not keeping up with her children Sunboy and Flowergirl. You can connect with her at http://www.nurturingandnature.