If I had my way our girls would never cry. Nothing would ever hurt their bodies. No one would ever hurt their hearts. They’d never be the cause of anyone else’s hurt either. Their worlds would stay happy, perfect, beautiful and secure – forever.
Unfortunately, I can’t always have my way.
The world we live in is flawed, people are imperfect and from time to time our girls are bound to have tears. Some of those tears are accidental, like when your sister smashes you in the head with a door, or you run into the wall (both have happened). Some of those tears are due to the selfishness of others – we cause the greatest hurt when we only see ourselves. Some of those tears are consequential – when we make poor choices they come with consequences and sometimes those consequences are hard. Some are tears of sorrow, sadness hitting us in our deepest places. And some of them are simply life, the way we express emotion and sometimes, just simply are right as a female.
I’ve cried my share of each one of those kinds of tears in the past and I’m sure I’ll shed many more as the years go on. I’ve survived them all, I’ve learned from them and each one that has fallen has helped shape the woman I am. Tears are important, even Jesus wept.
The thing is, the tears of my children shatter my soul. I want to sooth their pain, fix their broken hearts, scoop them up in my arms and make their worlds OK. I don’t want to just wipe their tears I want to absorb them, stand in the way of them and take them myself but I can’t. They need to learn their lessons, build their character, strengthen their souls just like I did and do.
This year both girls have shed some of those life developing tears over school.
Bethany has really struggled with anxiety about being away from us at school, her school year started out a little rocky when Audrey went into the hospital one week into Kindergarten. She woke up one morning & Audrey and I were gone. It left a big impact on her, and it’s taken her (amazing) teacher and I almost the whole school year to help her soothe that anxiety. She’s finally at a place where once she’s in her class room she’ll easily give me a hug, kissing hands* and “Chow, I love you” without tears pooling in her eyes. I am so thankful.
After Audrey’s 4th birthday we decided she’d be ready to start pre-school, at one day a week just like Bethany did. She’d been bugging us for months to start and while it took a HUGE leap of faith on my part (germs!!)we thought she’d do great! I was wrong, sort of.
She talks about school all week. Her teachers are fantastic, Ms. Tanya is her “heart-strings” teacher and Audrey thinks the world of her. She’s making friends and she can’t wait to get there. Then school day comes and her joyful little face starts to show the lines of worry. By the time we get there she’s got alligator tears and my heart is shattering.
As the tears pour down her face she begs me to let her go and at the same time begs me to stay. I sign her in, kiss her hands, hold her tight (maybe longer than I should) and then let her go into the arms of the teachers who love her too.
Before the door closes I peak back at her and the tears are already gone, she’s smiling, she’s happy and she’s learning.
Then I get in my van, suck in my breath and wipe my own tears away, my heart broken.
I know these tears are going to become part of their story. I know that there are many more to come and when they do I’ll be there to wipe them away. They’re important, and necessary and life, I know that.
But if I had my way, they’d never break their heart…or mine.