This is such a challenge. I talked to Ruby a bit tonight, she’s been shutting down a lot. She’s tough this one. Much like her mom. So I’ve been talking to her tonight about being brave. You find many people say to her “oh you are so brave” and I’ve not said that to her. I know not to. It’s not bravery that puts you in the face of this intensely personal journey, it’s imposed upon you as a child. She’s been poked and prodded and invaded on a regular basis since this all began over a month ago.
This is intensely disturbing to a 7.5 year old. She doesn’t get free will, choice or much power at all anymore. A kid who could choose what to do in a day, what to study, how to dress, to run or ride or walk; all these choices gone. So all this said with adults smiling at you saying “you are so brave” is somehow …confusing, frustrating and from what I gathered from Ruby today in our yes/no conversation it’s misleading.
Bravery for a child when people say that with the unspoken message of “Don’t cry, be brave now” means just that. Any emotion you feel that includes tears or anger makes you “not brave”. I told her tonight that it’s very very brave to cry, to get angry, to be brave enough to be honest about how you feel. That’s TRUE bravery. It’s perfectly fantastic and important to cry and to yell and to express how you feel. I told her she has incredible courage to face every day and to continue to be so polite and kind to all who try to help. That’s courage. Despite how we feel, we keep going. That’s courage.
Careful with that word “brave” now, grownups. Are we trying to keep a small child from expressing her feelings of fear, pain and deep sorrow to spare ourselves discomfort? I walk past a room every night where a small child cries in pain for hours. Nothing soothes him. His cries wrench my heart but they are real, they are expressed, they are valid and that child is getting them out. I want mine to as well.
She lays here and listens to me type, a small tear escapes from time to time and is blamed on “sleepy eyes” but I know better. I just hope that she can find her freedom in tears and in telling me how she is.
I can’t carry her burden. I can’t take this away. All I can do is walk beside her, quietly or loud, whatever she needs and hope that she can tell me what that is.
On a lighter note, if you haven’t bought a David Myles CD or Itunes album or 4, do so. This man keeps writing us back, sending me chords to his songs so I can play them here. The man is wonderfully kind, accessible and when I played a video for Ruby today that he is in, she couldn’t help beaming her lovely smile. She adores him.
Have a wonderful evening everyone. Or morning if it’s tomorrow where you are.