We went picking to heal our hearts and it helped. Yesterday, we found our cat. She had been missing for one day and we knew something was wrong. My husband found her on the side of the road on his way to work. She most likely had been struck by a car and killed. She was only two years old. It was a tough day. I told the kids and cried a lot. I kept reminding them that it was okay to cry and to let out all their feelings. I knew we needed to move and do something though. I decided that peach/pear picking was a good heart healing activity. Something we could do that would make us feel good and not guilty for having too much fun too soon. It was the perfect thing to do. The fresh air, the movement, the smells and colors all made us feel more alive and connected to each other and to love. This is the first pet my children have lost to death other than snails and fish from their tank. We knew this day would come and knew it would be difficult. I am grateful that they do not have to go to school today and we still have a few days left of summer holiday to peacefully transition through this new experience. I am wondering what their grief will look like today and I am hopeful that we can talk through this together. It has been important for the kids to see us cry and discuss our feelings. It has been crucial for them to hear us ask for alone time. These are all things we want to teach them. -That not only are they entitled to but they can find healthy ways of communicating their needs to others. There is no imposition, obligation, or burden. We are also trying to note that we all feel different things at different times. Being a parent is difficult. Being a parent who wants to provide and nurture a balanced healthy emotionally intelligent household is a gauntlet. I am doing my best to go forward on this arduous journey. Walking a family through grief with grace while grieving yourself feels like an impossible task at times. However, I remind myself that we will all be the better for it. Today we can allow our selves to be a little busier and more productive towards school and cleaning. I won’t stress the resistance as much as I might have on a different day. One step at a time we will get there. I will remember that the sadness can make us sluggish. But I will also remember to tell them that we can feel sadness and not be sadness.
I recently finished reading Eight Keys by Suzanne LaFleur. It was recommended to me by my daughter. She is ten. Usually I am doing the recommending. Usually I am gifting books or strategically placing them in her path so we can share in some of my favorite stories. This was one of those not as frequent moments where she read a book and tossed in my lap and said, “read this.”
Now I don’t like following the commands of my ten year old. However, when it comes to connecting over books or stories she has written, I am all in.
Eight Keys hit me hard from the first chapter. It felt familiar and lovely while also gritty and uncomfortable. All those complex things that start to happen when you are crossing over from simply being a kid to adolescence. It’s a tough time in all of our lives. It is a tough time especially for kids who want to hold onto their imaginations and play with the world while it seems like everyone else is trying to fit into a page of a magazine. This book explores layers of friendship as they evolve. I was delighted at the self examination the main character goes through and begins to think about her role in her relationships. This is not an easy thing to unpack with my kiddo without some tension. This gave us a key to unlock some of what might be happening for her and her friends.
Eight Keys is tender and has characters that are independent, thoughtful, and complex without being too mature or relying or sexual tension to drive the story. The characters felt real and their struggles felt authentic. It touched on loss, trauma, fear, relationships, identity and empowerment. I am grateful for my daughter’s suggestion. I am even more grateful for the chats we have had about the story. I love that she has a friend who “must read this” so they can talk about it. I am thinking about getting some copies to leave out for my students to find and pass on. -Just like the keys…
My daughter has taken to rolling her eyes at us. It was something she did only every once in a while when she was really upset but now, now it is like breathing. It is almost as if everything I say is triggering a conveyer belt of ocular motion. She is ten. Almost eleven. It makes for some difficult mindful communication practice. I want to fall into some defaults of my childhood; scream, threaten, ignite, ignore with disdain or get snarky. This morning, I am breathing in the scent of my tea and imagining a cartoon conveyer belt of eyeballs rolling and replacing the old ones. It helps me stay calm and joyful through her moment of disgust with me.