A kiss and a band-aid would often be all that was needed to make the hurt go away when they were little. Sometimes, it would take the addition of a cookie or a ticklefest. Back then, their hurts were mainly physical. If it were emotional, it was short-lived. A playmate might have taken a favorite toy.
As they've grown, so have their hurts. Physical hurts are now healed with Advil. James still needs the occasional band-aid. Actually, James still primarily needs band-aids. Pearl and Tom, however, have moved into the hurts that are more emotional in nature.
They have moved into that outer circle of their lives where other people can kick them when they are down, break their hearts into a million little pieces, take advantage of their good natures, and just plain take advantage of them.
Yesterday, one of my big kids was awake a 6am. Lee and I knew right away that something was wrong. While a parent of kids their age can hope for fever or vomiting, it is almost always going to be an emotional hurt. No band-aid or cookie or hug can make heartbreak go away. No amount of talk and "I've been there, I know exactly how you feel." can make them feel better. Only time can make them feel better. Yesterday, was the first time I have felt completely out of control and felt the need to get involved in the cause of the heartache. After all, parents are supposed to fix the hurt, aren't they?
Lee is always the voice of reason, and he encouraged me to stay out of what was hurting our kiddo. It would either work itself out, or it wouldn't. We would just have to remain on the sideline and let our child know that we would stand by for anything that was needed to help the hurt.
By mid-morning I was in tears. I knew the hurt so intimately. I knew just exactly the feeling that my child was having. It's that hurt where you feel like you are having a heart attack. It must be where the term 'heartache' came from. It's that 'can't breathe' sort of ache. I also knew that my kid had a long road ahead of healing. A road that's full of pot holes, and even sink holes. A road that would threaten to swallow them whole.
Parenting books are full of good advice about diet, rashes, temper tantrums and things far more serious. Still, I don't think there is a "What to Expect When You're Expecting Heartache" book. Yesterday I just had to go with my heart and with prayer. I did know what not to say. Some folks feel like they need to acknowledge another person's pain with things like, "it was meant to be this way, he/she must not have been right for you, you'll find someone else...". However well meaning, those words just rub salt in the wound.
Yesterday was probably my hardest parenting day ever, outside the first month of any of my kids lives. A ticklefest, hills of hugs, a gross of band-aids, a million kisses, and a bakery full of cookies was not going to fix it. Only my ears, my time and my sympathy would do.
What I must do, is tell how proud I am of the child I'm speaking of. The entirety of the hurt was mostly a misunderstanding. By days end, it was worked out. The broken heart was mended. I don't expect to always be this lucky. One day, the hurt will stay. Time will be employed to help heal the wounds. I will be employing the help of prayer to get me through the next time.
The one thing baby books don't tell you is this: When they are little is the easy part. Enjoy the magic of the band-aid.