Being away from our little ones & Knowing our emotions — Diary of a Baba
Posted on March 24, 2018
The past couple weeks have been intense and hectic on so many levels. I have a lot swirling in my head and a lot I want to say. I wanted to share a short story before the weekend began. Being away from Collin is getting harder and harder, how do we prepare ourselves and our little ones?
I’ve been traveling a lot and it will only get worse the next couple of months. Collin is growing (it seems) at a rapid pace. A couple nights ago, after I came home from one evening away, he reacted very differently. Practically everything i did triggered something. The bath and bedtime routine, which is usually pretty enjoyable and seamless, turned into a shouting match and non-stop crying — an explosion of rigidity!
To ground this, he wanted to bring a battery operated train car into the shower, i said, “NO.” Then he wanted his small yellow dump truck, which was nowhere to be found. Then it was something else. This went on for 45 minutes. Never was bath and bed time this difficult — my senses were up… something was going on.
After the calm and fatigue from crying, I could still feel the tension so I didn’t try to debrief, which is what i usually do (good thing). I just channeled some Bruce Lee. I repeated to myself, “Be like water. Be like water. Be like water.”
I took a DEEP breath, looked at him, made an open arm gesture, and said, “Can I get a hug?”
Immediately his eyes lite up and he jumped into my arms and said, “BABA, I MISSED YOU!!” and then went on to say, “You were gone at a meeting and didn’t come back. Where did you go??” (NOTE: we did prep him that I was going to be away for an evening.)
“Did it make you sad?” I asked, and he said, “YES!!”
I paused and continued to listen.
Then he said in a serious voice, “I want to go to your office, again.”
I said, “Really, what do you want to do there?”
In excitement, he said, “I want to draw on [butcher] paper!”
I hugged him super tight and teared up inside. I know this is a typically interaction and he could say more hurtful things but for that brief moment I could see him and his emotions more fully.
We slept well that night but I fear for the next time I depart. I wonder how that impacts the household, my partner and my mother in law. How will it be when I return next time? How can we prepare better?
It made me think about trying out the emotions color wheel to increase our emotional awareness (I’m colorblind but that is besides the point). For Collin, right now “sad” is a placeholder for almost all non-happy things.
Then I thought about us adults. Many of us (including myself) are not always aware of our own emotions and/or we confuse our emotional awareness for emotional intelligence (for another blog). Emotional awareness, in general, is a tall order for any of us so I’m not going to push this emotions color wheel too much.
But what I WILL do when things get rough again (because they will) is to take a step back, breathe and offer (or request for) a hug.
Until next time, hope you all have a FABULOUS weekend!