I made coffee. I fed the cats. I sauntered around the house loving being alone.
I got on the Facebox and found a post from a friend with the podcast of his sermon on spiritual parenting from two weeks ago. I don't get to sit in service on Sunday mornings. I work with the kidlets and youth as the Religious Education Coordinator so instead I listen to the podcasts of the sermons on lazy Wednesday mornings when I wake early enough to enjoy them before Hurricanes Pants and Plum wake for a new day of beauty and catastrophe.
UUCK Podcast - Spiritual Parenting (Mike Hovancsek, Lori Fatchet-McGee and Mark Allender)
Then, a few minutes after I finished, I heard a whimper coming from the top of the stairs.
"Mama? Mama? I need you", I heard her say. And I eagerly headed upstairs to greet my sweet girl as she woke for the day. She's a great morning friend. Most days she wakes with sunshine and rainbows literally shooting from her face. But once I got to the top of the stairs, I noticed that she was feeling ALL the feelings.
She was sad.
"Where's Daddy?", she asked as her voice broke in sadness and her tears fell.
"He's at work, baby.", I offered.
She hung her head and Charlie Brown shuffled back to our family bed.
"I need you to hold me right now, ok?", she informed me in a flat second place kind of way.
And in that moment, that's all I wanted to do even though I knew that I was a placeholder. I wasn't the one. I was the sub.
She cried. She cried hard. Because in that moment deep down in her soul all that she wanted was her daddy and he couldn't be there.
I was a consolation prize. My words of comfort did not soothe her. They did not erase her feelings of sadness. Nor did she want me to keep trying. In fact, she grew irritated with my attempts to make her feel better.
She was committed to feeling deeply. She was connected, in that moment, to her deepest emotions.
As Mike says in his sermon she deserved my complete engagement and confidence. She deserved for me to hear her and validate her. She didn't want to be cheered up. She was mourning and I needed to stop trying to make her stop.
And so I asked her. "Do you want to send daddy a message?"
"But I don't spell words, mama. I can't!"
"What about a video?", I offered.
"Yes. Lets do that.", She whimpered.
But its hard to talk when tears are stuck in your throat. So when it came time to say what she wanted to say, she couldn't. The emotions were too strong. The depth of her sadness made it impossible to speak and so I spoke for her the best that I could.
I know this because when the call ended she turned to me and with a huge smile and enormous tears she said, "Daddy and me are gonna snuggle tonight", her voice broke and her sobs came. And I noticed that the motivation of the tears had changed.
These new tears were different. They were anticipation tears.
Anticipation for the moment when her daddy came home and enveloped her in his arms. Anticipation for the feeling of safety and love that was sure to come. Anticipation for the amazing comfort of wholeness. Anticipation for how good it will feel to have daddy home for the night.
And I held her as her tears dried up and her body calmed. She allowed me to be enough for now. Especially now that she knew her daddy wanted to come home to her just as much as she wanted him to.
I lay there remembering how big it felt to be so connected and so raw as a child. I remember the emotions that would wash over and consume me. I remember how sudden and enveloping it was. I remember how unsteady I felt as I tried to make sense of the emotions that overpowered me. And I remember how scary it could be to not understand why.
And then I imagine how wonderful it will feel for her as they drift off to sleep tonight when all is right in the world once again because daddy is home.
And I think to myself that if nothing else seems to go the way we planned as parents, we got the most important one right. She knows the real, raw, power and honesty of love without limits, without ridicule, without restraint.
She knows a love so big that it even makes her cry sometimes.
What a gift that is.
What a gift she is.