Our children are more resilient than we know.
I was thinking this recently while tucking my two children into bed. My youngest dropped off to sleep but my older one needed to talk. Even rage cry a bit for all she had lost recently. It is her graduation year this spring from elementary school. So, many of her end of year milestones, from special drama events, to concerts, and the graduation ceremony itself are now cancelled.
Elementary school graduation seems a small loss, yet to her, it is a great one. I listened and held her through the tears, resisting the urge to try to make it better with platitudes. We considered arranging some make up events, with the understanding that there will still be a loss of what was expected. So we cried a bit together instead.
I found myself relating how my father had died unexpectedly during medical school, crushing my expectations and plans, the bittersweet nature of a graduation that would happen without him. Sometimes the greatest gift we give our children is simply staying in the room, holding their anger, sorrow, and uncertainty with courage. Even in the face of uncertainty.
When we model this ability to hold and honor their deep feelings without being overwhelmed, without denying or trying to “fix” it, we give our children a true gift that will help sustain them for future struggles.
And as we give this to our children, we also can heal a part of ourselves.