Friday, March 18, 2016

It's Okay to Cry

I generally try to keep this blog upbeat and inspirational, but there are times when I just need to share some of my pent-up emotions.

I'm hurting for my children and I honestly don't know how to help them.  And to be honest, I feel like a failure. I feel as if Dan and I have done something wrong as parents and this is why they struggle so much.

Emily came home from school crying yesterday.  She had two different friends hurt her.  One isn't speaking to her because Emily was called on in class to answer a question and as she tried to find the answer in her notes, the girl was trying to take them.  Emily pushed her hand away and said, "Stop."  At the end of class, the girl (who is Emily's best friend) stormed out of class and now will not speak to her.  Another friend isn't talking to her either and when Emily asked her why yesterday, she told Emily that she hasn't liked her for a while and "Just because."

Stephen has generalized anxiety disorder and has periodic anxiety attacks.  He's been struggling with them over the past few weeks and as recently as last night.  And of course, Nathan struggles quite often in social situations.

I honestly don't know what to do when this happens.  I feel like I've been punched in the stomach.  I want to fix it and I can't.  I want to intervene, but I can't.  This has happened to my children over and over again. 

But maybe that's where I'm failing.  I want them always happy.  I never want them to struggle with anything.  I want them to be popular and well-liked.  I want them to have strong and healthy relationships.  I never want them to be sad or depressed.  I want others to see the amazing human beings that I see.

Emily said something enlightening to me last night.  She came moping out of her room with tears in her eyes.  And because she had been like that since she walked in the door from school, I raised my voice and said, "Why are you still crying?"  "Why can't you let it go?"  And I was frustrated because the longer she is sad, the more depressed I feel.

She looked straight at me and said, "Mom, I just found this out today."  "I need time to process it."  "I'm sad and you need to let me be sad."  and "It's okay that I'm crying."  Wow!  When did she get so insightful?

Because that is exactly the opposite of what I do.  I almost try to bully my children out of their bad moods because of my own connection to their sadness or anxiety or frustration.  I'm inadvertently telling them it's not okay to feel hurt or sad.  Yet, if they try and bottle up all their emotions they will end up as emotionally unhealthy adults.

It was a moment of clarity I had and something I need to work on.  I wish I could deaden myself to the pain of their hurt, but it's probably something that I'll always struggle with.  I need prayer in this area, and I'd love it if you would pray for me.  Being a parent is such a struggle at times.  It was much easier when they were young and I had more control but they need to spread their wings and fly and that also means getting hurt from time to time.

And I need to remember that it's okay when they cry.  I need to also remember that God sees those tears and He uses their trials and struggles to shape them into the men and women He wants them to be.