Last weekend I had more than the average number of I wish I could redo that parenting moments.
Whether it was one too many cups of matcha or not enough minutes of sleep, my patience went for a walk when I needed her most.
But, even in the teary eyed I-just-want-us-all-to-get-along moments there was also joy.
So much joy.
Like the moment above.
Swinging in the sunbeams, skin to skin, giggling just to giggle.
I generally believe parents do the best they can.
And, no matter how great we are as parents, kids do not escape childhood unscathed.
Our kids will get hurt.
Just like we got hurt.
Trauma is part of growing up – whether from a mama amped up on green tea, a coach who is too attached to being number one, a best friend teasing in a moment of vulnerability, or a burnt out teacher loosing his cool.
When we are little, we are easily fractured and fragmented by little and big things.
Often my clients will discover an early wound and feel confused.
I don’t understand, my childhood wasn’t terrible, this moment isn’t really a big deal.
We are innocent, vulnerable, open-hearted, and open-minded humans when we are tiny. Even the smallest slice of a traumatic moment can leave an impression that lasts a lifetime.
But, it doesn’t have to.
You can parent your inner child through the pain of the past.
It’s not easy work.
The pain is palpable.
But, the power is too.
You can give yourself what you needed then, so you can have what you want now.
Feel lonely now? Bring love to the moments you felt alone then.
Fear rejection now? Bring love to the moments you felt rejected then.
Feel not good enough now? Bring love to the moments you felt not good enough then.
The symptoms reveal the cure.
Whether you were …
… the child that didn’t understand or the child that didn’t feel understood.
… the child whose eyes were never gazed into or the child whose hand was never held.
… the child who never heard I love you or the child who lived in a world of no and don’t.
… the child who came home to no one being home or the child who came home to a full house and still felt alone.
… the child who shattered or the one who didn’t.
… the child who was told she was never enough or the one who was told he was too much.
… the child who felt like he didn’t belong or the one who changed herself so she would.
No matter what your particular brand of trauma was, you can speak lovingly to that small part inside of you that was hurt.
I love and celebrate for who you are, not what you do. I delight in you. I believe in you, I know you have what it takes. You don’t have to feel alone or afraid anymore. I see you, I hear you and you are special to me. I will keep you safe. You are loved and appreciated for all of who you are. You are worthy and deserving of love, care, time, energy, attention, safety, respect, health and happiness. You are loved.
And then, let your actions align with your words.
Don’t abandon your inner child to the desires of others, take a stand for your inner child when you need to, speak to your inner child with patience, be present when your inner child needs you, and make time for your inner child to play.
Great lives are lived when we love all of who we are – the big parts and the little parts.