These 'cracks' that I've been writing about all week--the grief of losing the family unit I've grown so used to, the grief of a child who loses her perfect taco shell, the feeling of loss at the end of summer, or bigger griefs that come with serious illness and death--these are all kind of like what my mom used to call 'growing pains.'
These are the pains that come because we change, because life changes, because the people we love change, because life is impermanent. We have to open to these pains and feel them rather than run from them.
The logic of reminding me that my son will be home for Thanksgiving or telling a child that her taco was going to break as soon as she bit it doesn't help. The logic is true, but it can not heal the heart. Our heads know that we haven't lost our kids when they grow up, but we still mourn the child-that-was. A 4-year-old understands that taco shells break, but she still needs to grieve the taco-shell-that-was.
Growing pains must be felt. Even when a child's pain seems silly, it's worth sitting and listening to. We have to allow grief its full expression or it never heals.
If there are big emotions coming up at your house this week (and I kind of think there must be, because life is a little crazy for most of us right now), slow down and feel them. Listen deeply with no attempt to fix. Let the growing pains of your heart do the work of opening you more fully. And be gentle with yourself as you navigate the changes afoot in your life, as I hope to be gentle with myself today.
I'm a mom, wife, daughter, friend, and teacher who has long struggled with the desire to be the perfect person I imagine that I should be. Practicing mindfulness has changed my life, helping me to make peace with myself as I truly am and to appreciate my family, life, and the world as they actually are.