Children do not come with an owners manual. I know there are thousands of books out there that could give me another person's advice on how to deal with my kids when they are disappointed, angry, hurt, grouchy, sullen---you know, the hard emotions.
There is a quote that is flying though cyberspace at warp speed from a recent Hallmark movie, "Loving Leah". Is is: A mother is only as happy as her saddest child. Simple, but profoundly true.
Lately, my three kids have had varying forms of sadness.
Tom is not satisfied with soccer for one reason or another. He's juggling school, work, soccer and homework. The hardest part is that he really won't talk about what is bothering him. Typical young man, I get it. I just miss the days of being able to fix it with a band-aid or a cookie or a hug. To admit conflict within himself would be to admit a chink in his teenage armor. I wore that same armor, thick and heavy when I was 17.
Pearl is still struggling with having one of her best friends be a bully. I can't say much more, as I don't know whether her friend reads my blog or not. I just know that all I can do is offer advice and stand back. I can't go to school with her and whisper witty comebacks into her ear when her friend is being ugly to her or others around her. I can't walk her away when the situation goes from poking fun at someone into hurting someone's heart. I can't give her grown-up responses to use when the situation gets childish. I only hope that she'll continue to come to me and trust that I will listen.
James is trying to come to grips with a problem we've had in our house before--Club soccer and Club soccer politics. He and his best buddy were invited to join a soccer team that is no longer recreational. What that means is, higher caliber workouts, higher caliber games and some travel to games. James' brother played on this team for years. James and his buddy went out last night to practice with this team, only to find the Club commissioner there to tell them that some other boys from last year had signed up at the last minute (beyond the cutoff date). They are honoring their sign-ups instead of honoring the invitation they gave James and Nate. Honestly, James is happy with rec soccer. It's just that he'd like to move up, and it looked like that would be happening. He was very sad last night.
None of these are life altering problems. I just wish I had the answers that could make them feel better. Wish I had the answers for all their unasked questions. I know that they can only learn about life through experiences. I just wish....