today i am with a little one while his mamma is at work.
we listen to kid songs on my phone.
we eat peanut butter by the spoonful.
we watch magnet marbles slide and twist down a plastic track made for matchbox cars.
the magnets jump together and twirl when they are close.
we laugh.
my little also got mad.
he threw things.
we talk about how he feels.
he continues to cry.
i think about distracting him with the magnets.
i don’t.
i choose to not move him away from his feelings.
i acknowledge the ‘no’ the world gives him.
i think of the ‘nos’ the world gives me.
i continue to listen and respond with compassion.
i am mostly quiet.
i ask him if he wants me to hold him while he is sad.
he cries.
his no turns to a yes.
he cries.
his tears are shed with arms wrapped around him, now.
there is no distracting, but rather an embracing of his feelings.
an embracing of him.
he doesn’t feel bad for having big feelings.
big feelings are just big feelings.
they don’t define us.
they just are.
my own littles are grown up but i remember when they were sad.
i did all the motherly things.
i listened and comforted.
observing friends told me i was a peaceful mom.
but i knew differently.
on the outside i seemed calm,
but in the inside i was enmeshed with my little’s feelings.
on the inside i felt terrible.
i took it personally.
their crying meant i had failed.
it meant i am a bad mom.
it meant i am not enough.
when everything wasn’t right in my children’s world, everything wasn’t right in my own inner world.
anxiety filled my body.
i’m pretty sure it transferred to them, as well. but that is for another day.
now i live differently.
i experience the feelings of others differently.
i can be with them when they are vulnerable and angry and disappointed.
even angry and disappointed toward me.
i get to simply be there.
i am present.
i get to be with them in their well of pain.
i do not own their feelings.
now i offer warmth. not hidden anxiety.
it is a place of privilege to be with them in their pain, really.
it was a privilege today.
today this little’s feelings were his feelings.
i got to be there while his feelings were big.
very big.
he was him.
i was me.
feelings were feelings.
and warmth filled the room.
and loud crying.
and warmth.
as he grows he will know deep, deep down inside, that his feelings are okay.
he will know that the feelings of others are okay.
he will sit in the well with his family and friends when their feelings are big, too.
he will know who he is.
the feelings of others do not change it.
he will know who others are.
he will not try to change their feelings to make everything right in his world, because he is already okay.
he will be a friend to feelings because he learned to be their friend as a child.
his warmth will fill the room.
his mamma gives him the greatest gift of all:
the gift of feelings.
the gift of being loved without being enmeshed
the gift of boundaries.
i am so proud of you, mamma.
and i love you.
~  tina.