Tonight I was struck by something. As is ordinarily the case for me, it took me a minute. Oftentimes when my kids return from visiting with their dad for a few hours they have vastly different reactions when they walk through my door.
My son is typically thrilled to see me. He flings himself at me and is laughing and smiling. He takes an hour or so to really unwind. It's as if he has pent up energy that he needs to be let out. While he is a high energy kid on a normal day, he seems even more wound up. Not in a bad way...just bouncing around. He is full of hugs and kisses and is clearly happy to be home.
My daughter is often the opposite. She typically rushes through the front door with her stuff in tow, dropping it on the way down the short hallway to my arms. She often is tearful. She will express something happened that day...she stubbed her toe, she missed a word on a spelling test, she didn't feel well...most often it is that something bothered her. It seems as if she has been waiting to tell someone this information all day, and now that it's spilling out she can't control her tears. She sits on my lap and buries her head in my shoulder. Most of the time she is consoled quickly and we move about getting ready for bed. During our "tuck-in" talk, she often is quiet, wanting reassurance that I love her. That life will continue on much the same tomorrow.
It's a strange thing, my children's reactions to me. I often describe them to others much the opposite of these reactions. My son typically is the quieter, more reserved child. He likes routine and is uncertain at times. My daughter is the outgoing charmer. Always making friends and with a great ability to "roll with the punches" she is rarely bothered by change or chaos.
Tonight it occurred to me what's happening. And in some ways I felt honored to be my daughter's mother. Yesterday when my son was again undergoing medical procedures and issues, I was pretty composed. I rarely show signs of stress, particularly when he is having medical issues. My job in these situations is to hold his hand, get thrown up on sometimes and to advocate for the best treatment for my child. And I know how to do those things well. There is nothing that bring outs the lioness in me more than when my child is sick. This morning, on my way to work, I had a mini breakdown in the car. I was talking out loud to God (something I do in my car often). And I lost it. I think part of me senses that it's ok. God has heard my stuff before. She gets me. It's ok for me to cry and to be out of control for a time. I feel some comfort in those moments with God. Knowing that despite my own judgments, I'm just Her kid, and the world is scary sometimes. And it's ok to cry about it.
I realized tonight that's what's happening with my daughter. She has this angst...sometimes it's a big deal and sometimes it's not...but regardless she needs an outlet...someplace to say it. And for her, I'm that person. Her mom will listen. I don't judge her feelings, and at the end of all of it I hug her, kiss her and tell her I love her.
All of us, as human as we are, need that place we can fall down and cry. As I find myself wandering deeper into this forest with God, I am so thankful for that soft place to fall. I don't know how I got here...to this place in my life...but I'm so thankful to have both sides of the coin...to be the one falling and to be the one someone else can fall on. I continue to pray for the ability to be the soft place for my child, to be whatever she needs me to be. I continue to pray that God will be my soft place as well. That She will listen, hug me, kiss me and still love me at the end of it all.