Taking my son to preschool this morning, he burst into tears because we weren't walking. I'm not even sure he wanted to walk as much as he didn't want to sit in his carseat. So the entire 2-minute drive we listened to him scream and cry. It was really so sad and also the tiniest bit frustrating because there's no calming a screaming three-year old during such a short window between here and there. I carried him into school, and the screaming didn't cease; I didn't know whether to stay or go, but his teacher took him into her arms and started the "say 'bye-bye' to Mommy" routine so off I went.
As I walked away, I realized, I can't...take my children's sorrow or anger or frustration away. I can certainly be there to support them, to listen, to hold and soothe, but I cannot take it away. This is their journey, their exploration of their feelings, their experiences. Just as their joys and smiles are theirs, their harder feelings are also for them to sort through.
In two days I'll be off on my bicycle adventure. I'll experience my own joys and sorrows, and I know my children will experience theirs, as well. Whether they are three years old or thirty, I know I will always rejoice with their happy tales and feel deeply when they come to me with feelings of loss. My absence this summer is only in the physical sense, and I can't wait to see how our heartstrings grow.