Today I am feeling sad as a human and as a parent. However, among the sadness and some anger, I can squeeze out fragments of hope for change no matter how bleak things appear. Today is one of those days in my life that I will wrestle with my thoughts and emotions while I work to gather the words to talk with others. These moments come to all of us at various times in our lives, whether explaining an injustice, natural disaster, or a health crisis in the family. Searching for the right time and words to talk with a child when dealing with our own emotions has always been one of the more difficult things I have done as a parent.
At times, I have attempted to speed up this process so I can get the uncomfortable discussion out of the way and have been unsuccessful, as dealing with our emotions cannot be rushed. The only things I know for sure are that I want to be thoughtful about the words I use, and I want to maintain my boundaries. I do not want to overshare my intense emotions. A child needs to know the adults in their life can contain their emotions, so they are free to express their own in whatever form. Holding some space open to carry the weight of a child’s emotions rests with the adult. Lastly, I will allow the child to sit with their feelings and thoughts. I take comfort in knowing this allows all an opportunity to take in something upsetting, contemplate it, feel it and learn from it. I am not the fixer, and I will not promise to be as I know these moments teach us much. We all deserve at least that much on a sad day.