It was a Tuesday night 7 p.m, I receive a text from my oldest who lives an hour away where she is working and finishing up her senior year in college, saying ‘Mom, what should I do I’m just so sad right now, I can’t stand being here?”.
Immediately, and admittedly not my proudest moment I go in to mom fix it mode, supplying her with a list of reasons why everything is okay, all she has to be grateful for, the opportunity this situation could prove to be… basically everything to negate her feelings.
Essentially I dismissed her truth in that moment for what I believed it should be. So often we are told to “put on a happy face”, “fake until you make it”, “push through”. All of that has it place, I am not saying sit and wallow in sadness allowing it to move in and reside with you permanently but in that moment I wish I would have handled it differently. I wish I would have told her to feel what she needs to feel and that the world as it stands has thrown a few curve balls at everyone…
For you four years of hard work to walk across the stage as college graduate replaced with “we regretfully inform you…” Last months in classes, study groups, activities making memories replaced with zoom and social distancing just to name a couple and your feelings are valid, you should give them space to be heard, accepted and felt hopefully with a knowing that after you do that you will get through this and you can always come home if you need to.
Our conversation really made me conscious of checking in with my kids at home, not from a place of trying to make sure that everything is happy and perfect but just to let them know that missing their friends, or being upset about not being able to do certain things or being perfectly content with doing homework in their pajamas and group chats with their friends; whatever feelings they have right now are okay and being able to express those emotions is healthy and real.
So in closing I’ve have learned that kids just like adults have a tendency to put on a happy face but just as I want them to learn dance and celebrate the good days, appreciate the little things, be grateful for all that they have, there needs to be space to freely talk about and acknowledge the hard parts too because that is also part of this wonderful thing called life.
How are the kids in your life handling this space the world is in right now?
When we talk about our feelings the become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary.