A couple weeks ago a cute little graphic with the quote circulated on the Internet. It read: “The kids who need the most love will ask for it in the most unloving of ways.” Instantly, and despite its source, the profound phrase affected me. I promptly added it to my Facebook parenting page, where I like to park a lot of inspiring thoughts, blog shares and, of course, my own writing.
But rarely do I come back to a post, time and time again, the way I have with this one. Every day, perhaps several times a day because of all the “opportunities” I am given (insert a winking smiley face emoticon here), I think of this phrase and the poignant truth behind it.
Almost two weeks ago, my eldest fractured her arm in two places and dislocated her elbow. We’ve made multiple trips to Children’s Hospital in Vancouver; she has undergone major anaesthetic twice, and come home first with a green cast and more recently a blue one.
Perhaps it was all the narcotics she was given, but even I am not accustomed to dealing with a small person with such a big bark. On about as much sleep as a brand-new mother might get, my patience was being tested again and again and sometimes, I will admit, I did not react with as much compassion or grace as I would have liked.
It’s hard to keep your cool when you get knocked in the mouth in the middle of the night by the full force of a seven-year-old flailing her fiberglass-encased arm and wailing unintelligibly about swimming with cows.
Yes, we are co-sleeping again. I wonder what Dr. Ferber has to say about that?
When I am able to draw upon my well of compassion and inner strength, things go much better. I have to remember that in her situation I, too, would be outright cranky, and probably WANT to be just as demanding; I merely have the maturity and experience to know that sort of behaviour won’t get me very far. I guess we all have to learn that at some point.
This quote, in all its wisdom, also goes for adults.
Like when that driver yells out his window at you, not because you were too slow on the gas, but because he had a fight with his wife that morning. Or when the clerk at the store is snarky with you for asking if they have more stock in the back — it’s not you she’s upset with; her boyfriend just cancelled dinner plans via text. I know, perhaps the moral of the story here is not to text while you are at work, but in any case, as Keith Anderson sings — somebody needs a hug!
Keeping in mind that everyone is fighting her or his own hard battle is one way to move through life feeling less victimized and responsible for other people’s outbursts. Remembering that those who most need our compassion and love likely will ask for it in the most off-putting ways is another.
I’ve also learned that for the subsequent nights while Big Sister needs some extra support, I need to sleep on the other side of the bed!
Kirsten Andrews offers Simplicity Parenting courses, workshops and private consultations in the corridor. Visit Sea To Sky Simplicity Parenting on Facebook, www.SeaToSkySimplicityParenting.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.