Up in the tree
This past week we lived three consecutive days that were the calmest and most peaceful family days that we have shared in a long time. I relished these moments and fought the temptation to waste them in anticipation of the next wave of tension. Life is certainly full of peaks and valleys of calm and stress, and what causes the tension to either slowly hike or journey with rocket speed up the mountain of challenge is not always predictable or known. There was much to be grateful for during this 72 hours, not least of all, the internal peace and gratitude I experienced.
Toward the end of this time, our girls bounded off of the school bus as they regularly do. But when they entered the car, I knew that SOMETHING had happened on that 15 minute ride. Our typically quiet, more low key daughter was in a highly charged emotional state. Though her sister is more familiar with this territory, for daughter #1 this is a rare and unusual space. She was like a volcano ready to blow; and then she did – complete with hurtful names and words, screams and tears.
At this point, I got the opportunity to practice something that I sometimes read about in books and my husband has patiently said and mentored for years. Don’t try to deal with everything in the moment when emotions are high and hot. Be patient and wait. There will be a proper time and season to re-visit all that has gone down. I remembered to breathe, quickly reminded the girls to do the same, and then let everyone go and emote in the ways that are most comfortable and safe for them. For one, that was in the driveway doing physical activities; for the other, that was prostrate on her bed; for me, it was deep breath praying “grace received, grace released” with periodic check ins with the injured parties.
After a time, daughter #1 independently and happily joined daughter #2 in tree climbing as mom tended to some inside tasks. Thankfully my internal state was still tranquil as dinner time rolled around. And here is my very favorite part of this story. As we ate, laughed and talked, I realized that now was the time to revisit the bus incident. . I said something like, “you girls both had some pretty big feelings as you came off the bus. Does anyone have anything they want to say about that?” My sweet, quiet, sometimes reticent girl turned to me with great confidence and said, “Mom, we already worked that out without you.” Not too sure, as emotional dealings and apologies don’t come easily to this child, I kind of sheepishly said, “is there anything you need to say to your sister?”. She boldly replied, “I already said I was sorry – up in the tree”. Be still my heart . This is the goal after all – that they will one day be able to navigate all kinds of situations and life itself without me. A sacred moment.
Abiding in a calm and peaceful valley for moments and seasons is both necessary and healing. It gives us the strength to move along. Yet it is during the hike up the mountain of challenge that we experience the most growth. There are many Wilson family stories that don’t go the way of this one. Gratefully this tale represents growth for all three of us and the “we figured this out without you” message is music to my ears. Lots of hard work has gone into making such a moment possible. I still don’t know the full story of that bus ride, but the good news is this. It isn’t necessary. They handled it.