“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry…”

…because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.”

– James 1:19, 20

Littlered was dropped off from school. She met me at the door, eyes all glassy eyed. I immediately knew something was off, because the only one who meets me at the door lately is our small head wreck of a dog Minnie. Not the almost 9 year old who typically has her eyes glued to full house on the netflix,  Jojo bow lady on the iPad, kids opening presents (weirdest thing ever) or her head buried in a Roald Dahl book.

No, this was different for her.

As I opened the door, she launched into a tale…

OK…

Her delivery is as bad as mine when I am trying to explain to Mr O that I accidentally spent to much. So I began to talk… “Slow down, sit down and relax!”

At this stage I was confused that my super Mammy senses did not detect anything was wrong sooner. While Littlered was stood there anxiously chatting with hand gestures and a commotion.

Right. I kept listening. Listened some more…

At this stage I felt she was telling me that she felt what ever had happened was only 80% not her fault. That “girls are just mean” and that I should 100% send her to jail for her actions!

So I should point out that at that point – I wasn’t even upset or mad. I just wanted her to tell me the truth. The more I asked her to just tell me EXACTLY what happened the more I was loosing my patience at the ‘beating around the bush’ story she was giving me. So I gave up and said ‘go up to your room and think about how you can sort it out yourself.” A little harsh maybe?!

About 3 minutes passed (she hates being alone), she came out, sat at the kitchen table, and stared me down.

“What Littlered?”

Then came the floods of tears, “You are really cross at me.”

“I pinky swear I’m not.”

“You have a cross face on!”

At this point I felt she had grown up 4 years and I was talking to a 13year old. Sigh….Ok, so “I am a little upset about the fact little girls can get into silly fights at this age and I really do think that ye will have forgotten about it tomorrow and be best friends all over again.”

Then the fat tears came, then ones that make a Mammy start to sniffle along with the Little. Yep. Those ones. Turns out it is very hard to make everyone get along and sometimes, and when you let teachers know they tell you – “take a break from each other, go play with someone else!” Of course at that age all she heard was – “You are NEVER to play with her again!” (OH the DRAMA)

But in that moment, my heart broke a little.

Don’t get me wrong. She was still in trouble for lying and had to listen to my over worked “This is why we must tell the TRUTH” speech.

But what broke my heart was the fact that she was afraid to tell me the truth. She was afraid to just say – “I did something today and I feel awful about it and now I can’t play with my friend.” How simple I thought, Yet hard for her. Not because maybe there would be a punishment. She was afraid to disappoint me and even more so she was nervous of my reaction.

I can’t even count on two hands how many times I have flipped out over messy rooms, lost water bottles or simply not listening. How many times have I lost my mind over something little? How many times have I made my little’s feel like something material, something that can be replaced, was quite possibly more important than they are?

Countless! Then started my tears and I realized that I had failed in creating a safe space. How could they both come to me with the BIG things if I lost my patience with the little things?

Of course we talk all the time. I can tell you who likes who in the class (yes at 8), what’s going on in their lives, the likes and dislikes. I don’t think I will ever be the Mammy that says “My little is my best friend” As truthfully I don’t understand that statement. I do however pride myself in knowing (well thinking I knew) their every thought!

I want to be the safe place. I want them to feel I am inviting in the little things, just so if big things occur (which I am sure they will) that they feel I am easy to approach and not doubt me.

It’s not easy when life is hard, and busy, and stressful. The last two weeks have been exceptionally shite with illnesses in our house and myself and Aoibhie staring at the four walls constantly whether it here or the Dr’s has been pretty testing. Our nerves are shot and Mammy’s patience is at an all time low. We just do not need any more “things” to be dealing with.

It doesn’t become easier as they grow older and I am already worried about the teen years which now at almost age 9 (shock) does not seem so far away. So it’s time to create that safe space now for my little loves. Mr O (The Daddy Genius) decided the top floor in the house was the best place for a safe ‘secret place’ to chat. No one is allowed to get in trouble if they let us know the truth on the 2nd floor!

We have to show them their feelings are important to us, and  that we love them more than the silly things.


It starts with me. It starts with Mr O and more importantly it starts with our reactions.

 

Love, Helly x

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