A new age

It hit me today that my 6 yr old, Maddie, is beginning to feel loss but not sure what to do with the emotions. What we saw today as a defiant little girl refusing to say goodbye to her grandparents, was actually a girl unable to handle them leaving. JD and Annaliese(4 & 3) were able to run up and give hugs and kisses and wave as Grandpa and Nana began the 4 hour journey back home.

So now I wonder how she will handle her favorite cousin, Dannielle, going back to Texas after a month long visit. At 13, Dannielle is the big sister Maddie doesn’t have. Braiding hair, showing her the hula hoop, reading books on the couch or on the porch swing at Grandpa’s. Dannielle has bridged the gap between what Maddie would like from me and what I am able or is appropriate for me to do.

I was never good at handling sadness as a child so I don’t know how to instruct Maddie. I always felt stupid for being sad and not comfortable in it. Anyone have thoughts on how I can avoid 30 years of the same for Maddie? She’s growing so quickly and her brain goes a mile a minute.  With 2 younger ones swirling about,  I feel like I’m falling behind.


5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Beth on July 24, 2007 at 7:20 am

    Poor Maddie – I know dealing with emotions of a young child can be hard. I try to verbalize with my 5 yr. old what he may be feeling, since putting emotions into words is still hard for them. Here is a link for a series of books that might help you get talking about emotions.

    I’ve heard good things about it and I hope it helps. Don’t feel bad yourself Joni. As mothers we try to be everything to our very different children, even though we are setting ourselves up for a disappointment in ourselves. Good for you asking for help! That is one of my weaknesses. Remember – it takes a village!

    BTW, How is Mr. Ruhs today? Doing better I pray.


  2. Posted by Lori on July 24, 2007 at 7:33 am

    Joni, I am quite opposite from you as I am very emotional and can cry (and do a lot of times!) at the drop of a hat, a sad story, a happy story, seeing another mom cry, etc…..so I’m pretty comfortable with my emotions and showing them. My daughter is pretty tender hearted too – she is compassionate and caring and loving. AND she can cry too. (God be with her daddy as she enters puberty!!!!! ha ha) Anyway, when Danielle leaves Maddie, there will be much sadness……and just let her cry. Just let your baby feel those emotions, sit with her and hold her and tell her you understand (even if you may not totally…) don’t try to fix it…..just let it be. She will experience heartache and sadness all her life, as much as we want to shield our kiddos from that, it’s inevitable. As a young girl, my mother tried to brush my emotions off, she would tell me to “get over it” if I was hurting over a break up…..after a while I ended up not going to her with my problems . I would go to my dad, cause he’d just hold me and let me cry and tell me that everything would be ok. And it always was. I definitely don’t want that to happen with me and mine, so I just hug and kiss and hold and comfort….that’s all we can do. Oh, yeah, and pray. Let us know how she handles the departure…..


  3. Oh man, I think I need to read that book too!! We have four children all with four totally different ways of handling their emotions. But just between our first two girls, night and day. Our first is very reserved and you really have to pull emotions out of her. I struggle with her so much because I worry that she keeps it pinned up. Not good. Then there is Kylee our second. Oh my gosh. Since we home school our kids I often sit in wonder of what would have occured if we had sent her to school. She can cry, I mean really cry over anything, and will, at least once a day. And don’t even get me started on what happens when someone leaves our house after a visit. I can see it coming, and dread it. So I am torn here because really it is healthy. She gets it out and once she is done she is usually great, where our older child can silently brood, not so healthy. My concern for Kylee is how do we harnass it so that as she grows she can handle those emotions but maybe in not such an outward fashion. i.e. breaking down hysterical everytime she drops her pencil at work. Thanks for bringing it up it is a subject I think about a lot.



  4. Sometimes when I think Megan is having a hard time dealing with something, I might say, “Boy, it makes me really sad when Nana and Pa have to go home.” That opens her up sometimes. Though she’s not one to really hold anything in for long! We were not a emotion-talking family growing up, so it’s not very natural for me, but it’s good for all of us.


  5. Wow – I agree with every one here…. such great wisdom! Ya know, emotions are God given. He planted them in us. Whenever we react or respond to something, it is a valid emotional response. It is what we are truly feeling at that moment, right or wrong, it’s right to us. Others may not understand and that’s ok. Having said that – it is not ok when we let our emotions take over. Like anger, turning into resentment. A moment of sadness turning into depression and withdrawal (of course sometimes that’s chemical, but not always) My point is – as was said above – let her “feel” – and feel with her. Walk her through healing in an appropriate manner. Then put things in perspective – there will be disappointment all her life, people will let her down, her heart will be broken – this is her training ground for learning to deal with it in a healthy and spiritual way….


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