If I knew the right words, I promise I’d write them down. I’d speak and share exactly what to say to our children when. We all know there will be a when. Your child’s might not be the same as mine, but they all have them.
And when they do, when our child has one of those life experiences we’d hoped they’d never have, we all probably handle it differently. But I’m sure, in our hearts, we all feel the same. In that flash of an instant when you see, hear, and feel whatever it is your child brings to you, we all probably feel many of the same heart skips and jumps. We all probably perform a quick scan and start with the eyes – because we can clearly see all we need to know in the eyes of our child.
Our thought sequences, too, are likely similar. My thoughts need a few minutes of wait time. Do yours? In those moments – which I’m sure feel like forever to my child – I need to assess the situation, set aside my emotional response, and figure out just what to say. And in this split-second of eternity, I need to find wisdom. I need to speak so I’m understood. I need to speak truth – from my perspective, anyway – and I need to make meaning to someone far younger and less experienced than I.
One head nod and I know I’m traveling the right road. Because we’re all directionless in that when moment and probably caught by surprise. So we close our eyes. Jump right in. And speak.
And so I wish I knew the right words. Because if I did, I’d flip to the right page in the book and know – without doubt or second-guessing – that I knew just what to say … when. Since I don’t know for sure, all I have is my heart. And my faith.
My heart will speak in its own way, in its own time. As halting or tongue-tripping as it may be, my heart will know the right words when my mind might not. Still, I’m sure, in between my sincerity and a really deep need to get it all right, my heart will check in with my brain just to be sure. Reason has its place too so – we hope – whatever needs to be learned by our child is learned.
I know I lean pretty heavily toward healing my child’s heart. I reassure, encourage, and point out the positive. It’s the rational side of me who insists I also find a true story of some other moment when – preferably one I learned from – because I’d rather not leave my child hanging out there alone as though he’s the only one who.
We all have our own moments when. That’s one thing I told my son during his. We’re all human and sometimes embarrassingly imperfect. But we’re here to learn. And sometimes learning hurts.
I am a mother. The protective instincts I feel for my children are just about the strongest instincts I own. And here’s where the faith comes in: I need to believe my instincts will guide my heart, my love, my reason … and my words.