Let me be honest, I sometimes have a hard time remembering my kids belong in this moment of my life just as much as I do. It’s a combination of a selfish tendency to center my own wants/needs, and a tired attempt to avoid the discomfort of trying to understand what is going on in someone else’s head. It is uncomfortable to acknowledge the way our needs collide and invite myself to bend toward togetherness instead of independent achievement.
Roommates or spouses or parents bring one set of relational challenges because their lives can go on without you, they tend to their own needs a little more, and they can be responsible for their own behavior and priorities. Kids bring a whole different set of challenges. It is significantly harder to be in relationship with these need-filled people who are reliant on you in numerous ways while still acknowledging that they are their own complete people outside of you.
As an adult the way my kids are dealing with their world doesn’t always make sense. Their concerns circles closer to matter of fact problems of their life. Their frustrations can seem silly or needless, but then on closer inspection maybe they are just a different layer of our own fixations: What happened, What’s next, What about me? But it can be hard to see as grownups.
I am quick to tell my kids that it’s going to be ok. Because it is, and it will be, and this is something that I am constantly telling myself. It’s going to be ok. It will all work out. God’s got this. You don’t have to worry. My self-talk is adept a keeping out the worry.
But when I do this to my kids, it sometimes helps, but sometimes it just makes them feel a little more overwrought by their concerns. The problem gets a little bigger in their minds, because, for them, it is a big problem. They really wanted that that mini-beanie rooster and someone else took it. It is a real sadness for them.
It will be ok, but maybe the bigger thing for now is letting them know I understand how they feel. And that it’s ok they feel that way.
I always have trouble helping my kids to resolve conflict between them. I never know what to say or how to get them to be kind to each other. Or what to do when they say mean things to each other. But I’m guessing the key is somewhere around the above paragraph, slowing down enough to let us all feel how we feel, and figuring it out together.
We all belong here and all of our feelings belong here too. Our emotions, however they are, are a part of our whole selves and they are important, no matter what they are. We can all learn to shift and make room, to be a spacious family where we all can nestle down and feel loved.
I know that sounds all idealistic, but I am an idealist. Tomorrow I’ll be overwhelmed again and they’ll be fighting, but maybe for writing these words I’ll remember a little better and we can begin to build additions into our habits.
We all belong in and with each other’s lives.
We are all whole people.
There is room for all of our feelings in this family.
And all of our feelings are whole feelings.
From there, for now.
This month I am joining the #write31days community to explore the idea of the Whole Together Family because I believe we get be who God created us to be – together. Find the whole list posts here or click on the image.