My emotional quotient dwarfs my intelligence quotient, so I’ve raised my two bio kids since birth to be feelers and processors. It’s a high value for me – engaging with our emotions and sharing them with each other. I believe that getting all those feelings out there on the table is one of the best things we can do in life. It allows us to see our normalcy and it empowers us to connect.
As you can imagine this is quite a learning journey for Ava, raised in a culture that doesn’t have such a high value for feeling and expressing emotion and in an environment where there wasn’t anyone available to listen anyway.
And here we are at a time of very high stakes emotion. Al of us have all the feelings. And you know how that works – it’s like a blender of crazy happening in this household. 🙂
And in the midst of it, the beautiful moments.
Quinn, walking into the kitchen to tell me “tomorrow night will be my last night to sleep in my bedroom without my brother.” And I know how very much is packed into those few words. My heart in my throat I hug him. So proud of him for reaching out for his needs, however simply. David and I whisper together in the bedroom, strategizing over our children’s needs. Making war plans for the battle that we fight daily for our children’s hearts. Tonight he and Quinn will have “man time” in Quinn’s room with a new cartoon book, some special drinks, a whole lot of cuddling and talking. We will celebrate this transition by letting Quinn know how very valuable he is to us, that his place in the family cannot be lost and that our bond with him only grows stronger as we welcome a new son.
Later on, as I head to tuck Ava into bed I notice the ever-more-precise corners, the new perfectly aligned blanket on the bed, the stuffed animals all lined up. These are the signs that worry is growing inside my little girl and coming out in the best way she knows to express it, perfection. We sit and talk in the darkness to the glow of her starry-night-lantern. Talk about how worry expands inside of us and how we eat candy to make it feel better, and we make things perfect to make it feel better, but how the only thing that really makes it feel better is letting it out, inviting another in to our journey. Processing. I ask her silly questions about what could make her afraid, gently making the questions more and more real until suddenly we hit pay dirt and we are facing head-on the fears she could not even verbalize a few minutes before. And then I offer to her the gift of telling her she can be as mad or sad as she wants, that it’s all normal, that of course she will be jealous and miss the way things were. It doesn’t mean we love Yun less. I see her move through emotions in these ten minutes in a way that couldn’t happen without grace and I know that others are praying, and I feel held.
These are sacred moments, holy ground, when I slip my feet from my flip-flops just to reflect the attitude of my heart.
Pastoring my people through this journey is one of the best things I will ever get to do in life. It’s everything, really. In these micro-moments I am teaching them how to do life. Instructing them on how to thrive in a world of challenge and imperfection and overwhelm where things change when we least want them to. If I can teach them that they are loved and enough ALL the time, if I can show them that the ones who love them cannot be scared by the depth of their feelings, well, that is enough. With that they can conquer the world, I think.
Another day forward, another step forward. All the feelings. Yun, here we come.