Thursday, February 21, 2008

So emotional, baby

My last post about "whumping"-- yes, I really am dorky enough to make up my own silly words-- is a clue to the kind of week it's been. Both of my girls have been on what I can only describe as emotional overload. Lots of crying, whining, and grumping; over things that you wouldn't think are a big deal. But, apparently, when little sister gets two more crackers than Emma, the world really IS coming to an end!!

It's been especially challenging with Emma. Annabelle whines and cries a lot too, but I can deal with it (except when I can't stand it anymore and it drives me insane :)) from her-- she's only two, and while I certainly am trying to train her out of things like that already, I do have to remember that she doesn't even really talk yet, and make some allowances for that. She is still learning how to communicate in a form other than her emotions like crying. Emma, however, is a different story. She knows how to tell us exactly what is on her mind, what she wants or needs, or if something is not right in her little world. So when she cries continually I know that it is nothing but emotion with her. It is amazing how little it takes to reduce her to tears and sobbing, and how quickly-- and often-- she reacts in this way. I don't ever want her to think me unfeeling and unsympathetic, but I also don't want to encourage and validate her tears all the time.

I am beginning to see what a delicate balance I must strike here with my little daughter. I want her to realize that emotions, whether they are happy or sad, are a gift from God. He created us to feel joy, to know pain, to laugh, to cry. We shouldn't feel like we need to banish them from our lives and avoid expressing them whenever possible. It is these emotions and feelings that can define certain times in our life and lend memories a poignant beauty: such as the blissful joy I knew when I married Jeremy or saw my daughters for the first time, or the pain and heartache that we feel when someone we love must leave our lives. It is even ok to allow ourselves tears or joy over the smaller things, like losing something important to you or getting flowers as a special surprise.

But, I also want her to learn that it is so important to not allow our emotions to rule us. I have seen lives that are ruined by emotions and the decisions that are based off of them. I've learned firsthand that emotions must be tempered with reason and rationality, and of course most importantly-- what Scripture tells us. I want to be able to teach Emma this and give her the tools for coping with life's disappointments, whether they be big or small, in a way that will glorify God and benefit her.

My prayer is that all my children can enjoy a life that is rich and beautiful with the texture emotion brings to it, yet at the same time know how to employ their self-control and reason. I am still working on this myself, but the fact that I have these little ones to teach makes me want to work even harder so my example can be a good one.

I know Emma is young, and it will be a while before she experiences all that life can hold. But if I can start here, and help her cope with the silly little things like her favorite show not coming on, then hopefully the Lord can use that to prepare her for when the real disappointments must come. And for the times when tears must be shed, I hope she knows that her mommy will always be right there with a shoulder to cry on.


Misty said...

the teaching a girl about emotions is tough. my daughter is almost 9 and truly one of the most dramatic females on the planet. I just don't relate to that drama and so I find myself getting really stressed out/overwhelmed by hers...

Good luck on your quest. I pray for Gen, in this area, all of the time... For myself too, that God will equip me with what I need to care for this side of her.

Davi said...

Little boys are also notorious for crying a lot. I think that they might even cry more, until they just flat run out of tear and then they never ever cry again as adults. It's very hard to strike a balance, but the very fact that you are aware of that fact means you are doing a good job I don't ever think your daughters will ever find you uncaring. When we loose it from the whining, a friend used to always say, "Love covers a multitude of sins." My kids know I love them and I'm sure your do too!

davi said...

p.s. I got my purse at JM's