Somewhere amidst the last couple of months of growth, my daughter learned how to scream – or as I like to call her in those moments, my husband’s daughter. (Although, if I’m being honest, that’s probably more my personality than his.)
She often screams when she’s hungry, when she’s done sitting in her high chair, when she’s tired, when she’s tired of playing with her brother, when no one is playing with her… She screams; you get the idea.
To Sassy’s credit, she has had 6 teeth pop through her gums in the last two months. And she does have a 4 year old brother pulling her around or holding her back most of the day. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told her brother, Little Boss, not to tie a rope around her ankle, just in the last week.
As I’m witnessing the dwindling of my baby girl’s passivity, I sometimes want to pat her on the head and say, “I understand.” Other times I’m tempted to set her on the back porch and walk away. In my better moments though, it’s empathy that prevails.
Life is hard. And sometimes it’s really, really hard.
In the last two years I have been diagnosed with two pretty horrendous diseases – one of which causes pain and immobility daily, the other of which required extremely severe treatment, and still may kill me in the end. It’s been no picnic.
A normal, predictable world of challenges and joys has been replaced with a sad perception of harsh reality, as so often accompanies pain and trauma. As Sassy knows, there really is quite a lot to scream about.
Of course, my goal as a parent is to teach Sassy and Little Boss to grow into people who can not only manage their emotions but also see beyond themselves. How will life ever be beautiful if they can not learn to look beyond their own plights and interests to the needs of others, and to the hope of God?
So while I may hug my screaming daughter close and whisper in her ear that I know how she feels, eventually I will set her down to figure it out on her own - as she will need to so often in this life.
“You’re okay,” I tell her. And myself.