Thursday, January 26, 2012

Heart Broken

How is it that a child knows just what to say to put us right in our place?

 Preston, my four year old, likes to “lolly-gag,” a term we use frequently in our house.  He is a very easy-going, laid back, fun-loving child who doesn’t recognize the need to hurry for anything.  I, on the other hand, rush to get things done and feel the need to hurry to get out the door on a daily basis.

In the mornings, I have perfected when to wake up Preston so that he has plenty of time to leisurely get ready.  I glance at the clock and know just when to start rushing him.  However, I haven’t yet perfected how to pick up the pace on such things as eating or cleaning.  It seems that lolly-gagging is the basic point of contention in our household.

The first time I actually remember him saying something that put me in my place was when he was about two and a half years old. I remember his age because it happened when I was pregnant with his baby sister.  I was brushing his teeth one night and he was lolly-gagging.  I very sternly got onto him and he began to cry.  I held him and apologized, and he calmed down.  A few minutes later as he crawled into bed, he asked, “Mommy, why did I cry?”  I turned the question back to him, “Why did you cry, Preston?”  He quietly answered, “Because you talked bad to me.”  I realized then that my tone of voice certainly made an impression on my young son.

Over the last year and a half, he has grown in tune to his feelings, and he doesn’t hesitate to share when something hurts his feelings.

Just last weekend, Preston had taken a late nap, and when he woke up, he seemed a little out of sorts.  Everyone has been sick lately, so by the way he was acting, I was half-way expecting him to be getting sick.  We were rushing to get ready to go to a surprise birthday party, and I got onto him for lolly-gagging.  He began to cry, and I asked if he felt bad.  He said, “Yes.”  I thought he would tell me that his tummy hurt, or his throat was sore, but when I asked what hurt, he simply said, “My heart.”  As soon as he said it, my heart began to hurt just as much as his did.  It broke my heart that I had broken his.

Why is it that we hurt the people we love the very most?  And how is it that a young child can put us in our place so quickly?

Julie Swink is a Sr. Marketing Specialist for Texas Health Resources and Mother of two.

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