“Don’t be sad. It’s okay to miss mommy–that’s okay. Because it means she’s a good mommy and you love her. And you get to see her again soon, just like you get to see me again another day.”
These are my own words. I had to say them to my two year old today as she started crying her heart out when I had to leave for the day. I made what some might say was the mistake of asking if she was really sad because she was missing mommy. Honestly, I didn’t know if I was going to be able to get the words out without crying, myself.
Isn’t it interesting and complex and frustrating that you can so perfectly understand the confusion and sadness and anxiety that someone as small as that is feeling, and yet you can be at a total loss as to how to explain it to her. I have seven year old who perfectly understands the disruption of divorce and is struggling with it in his own way. As upset as he gets sometimes, it’s actually usually fairly easy to put his mind at ease and calm him down. Then I have a four year old who is the happiest guy on the planet. He knows things aren’t right but he also seems to know everything is going to be fine.
But my two year old…my little girl. She knows things are wrong. She knows people are upset. She knows she is missing one of her parents, but doesn’t understand why. And all of the sudden she is ruled by an anxiety that everyone who sets foot outside the front door is leaving her and not coming back. I know all of that. I understand it all, even on a personal level. And yet I can’t explain it to her.
Nobody deserves that kind of confusion and chaos. But especially children. How do you center them and focus them on positivity, no matter what their age? I’m still trying to figure it out as I go along. But it’s a heartbreaking process.