Friday night was Fantastic! Our house was overflowing with kids, Carly's friends, Lilly's new friends all here to celebrate her 12th birthday. A few of my own friends were here dropping off their kiddos. We ate cake. Had a couple of gifts. Played cards. The music was playing. The doorbell was ringing. I love the hustle and bustle of a happy FULL home. I even sent my friend a text that said something along the lines of "I think I am finally HAPPY here. This place is starting to feel like home."
And then it temporarily fell apart.
When everyone left and it was just back to the dowpartyof6, Lilly, who's 12 now, found herself in a place of grief. Sorrow. Sadness. I knew the tears were coming. You know when they are really QUIET that something is wrong. I'd asked and she'd said she was fine. And then I asked again and she was still "fine" and then finally the tears spilled out.
"I miss my Kentucky friends," particularly our neighbor who'd been more like a sister to her. I can't even type this without fighting back the tears, because if you are a momma bear, you know there is almost nothing worse than a sad child. I absolutely hate seeing any of them in this state, especially her. Much like her dad, she's strong. She holds in most of her emotion and feelings, unlike the rest of us who can be quite dramatic. You know when she cries, she either is really hurt physically, or she's shattered on the inside.
We hugged, cried together, and talked it through that night, and I thought it was over, but Sunday morning came and so did the tears.
When I walked up to her room, she was in her bed, tears pouring down her face. I'm going to share a little of our conversation, some of the things I've read just in case you find yourself in similar shoes.
"It's okay to cry. Crying is a good thing. It's good to release your feelings and talk them through. Never ever ever cry in your room alone. Always come and find me. When I need to cry, I cry to your dad, usually at night when you are all in bed asleep. It makes me feel so much better to get my feelings out and let someone know how I feel. What's going on on the inside. Please, always tell me when you are sad."
We cried together. I told her how much I missed "Home" too. I understand the loss. I cry about the loss. We cried and we hugged. Even though she is NOT a hugging kind of kid. Even not "huggy" kids need hugs! We sat in the silence. And just felt the sorrow. She told me about who she missed most and what she was feeling.
And then I said, "You have to get up. You have to leave your room. I have dishes that need to be unloaded and a chocolate cake that is dying to be baked. Could you please bake it with your brother?" (He's usually so funny and a ball of Joy, I knew she'd enjoy time with him!)
We turned off the TV and ON some Happy music and her spirits were lifted. She was SO sweet to her brother. Honestly, sweeter than I've ever seen her with him. I could see that the compassion I'd shown her was being paid forward. I could see that she felt valued and like she had purpose in her work.
Chances are, you haven't recently moved 10 hours from home, but I bet if you have a preteen, or teen daughter, she's got things she could cry about too. Things that she might need to get off of her chest.
When you feel the tension or hear the "silence" don't give up. Ask. And ask. And ask again.
Cry with them.
Share your own sorrow.
Be still and set with them in their pain for a minute.
And then force them up and out. Lilly likes to bake, so I knew that would make her happy. I put her with her brother who she gets along with instead of her sister who honestly annoys her.
Turn off the T.V. Find happy music if happy music is your thing.
Go for a walk. A bike ride. Get some fresh air.
Finish a project. Have them do something that gives them purpose. I think work, even though they'll sometimes moan about it, is the cure for a lot of things! That sense of accomplishment is priceless.
Finally, let them do something for someone else. I sent her and her 3 siblings out to deliver Christmas Cards and Candy Canes to neighbors. Serving other is almost a guaranteed renewed feeling of JOY. It's like a reset button for your soul.
I love this Bible verse, "Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep." Romans 12:15.
I must admit this can be hard for me. I really want to run ahead and say, "Get up! Let's go out. Let's get out of here. Let's go do something fun! Let's change the subject to our "Highs" and what we can be thankful for.
Sitting with someone in their sorrow is truly a hard and often painful thing to do. In reality, it takes time, and I am such a busy-body, get everything done right now kind of momma, I have to force myself to stop and "weep with those who weep." Even my own children.
I hope this is helpful. Like everything else I write, I am no expert of the subject. But I know I need to remind myself to SLOW down. To process the feelings of those around me. Go places I don't want to go to help heal hearts that need to be tended to.
What about you? Who could you "weep" with this holiday season? Who in your very own home has a burden that needs to be shared?