Tuesday, June 6, 2017
Cycle of Life - Overseas Version (And a Parenting Lesson)
When you live overseas the comings and goings of people around you is part of the ebb and flow of life. This can happen at any point throughout the year, however the end of the calendar year and the end of the school year are the two most prevalent times for good-byes.
So, after 14 years outside our home country we have become accustomed to these seasons of good-bye. Generally we have months between the news of someone leaving and the reality of the last known day together, but not always. In the last week we've been hit with two surprises that hit very close to home (as well as several more in the past two weeks in our wider circles).
While I came to know about these two instances several days apart, they became public knowledge on the same day. This alignment of stars meant that I was breaking tear inducing news to my daughter TWICE in one day.
My daughter is a natural crier. Her eyes overflow when she is filled with emotion. Her eyes leak at a satisfying end to a story, be it happy for sad. Tears are a common part of how she experiences emotions. Sometimes the tears turn to sobs and take several moments before she can continue. She and I both know this. I have to proceed with caution.
At the end of a school day the email went out to all staff that a teacher was moving - next week. Since my daughter usually stops by my room at the end of her day I wanted to make sure I was the one to break the news to her, rather than have her over hear it somewhere.
"I have something to tell you, and it might make you cry."
Her eyes got wide as she settled into my arms. "What is it?"
"Mr. [favorite teacher that she desperately hopes to have one day] is moving."
She trusts herself around my neck and holds on tight. Eventually she slowly pulls back and asks, "To where?"
At this point I am surprised that, while there is shock and sadness written all over her face, there aren't any actual tears.
***Four hours later***
"I am some more news that might make you cry."
I will spare you the details of the story. (It was absolutely precious, but this news still isn't widely known and while it isn't a secret, I sure don't want to be the one to spill the beans!) What I will tell you is this; there weren't any tears!
Reflecting upon these two incidents I am now wondering if by simply prefacing potentially devastating news with "you might cry" allows her to be prepared enough for the emotion that she can steal herself to the extremity of her feelings. Or, it could just be that she's now eight. One thing I do know, we live overseas, and there will be more opportunities to test my new delivery method.