Moving Through Tantrums
I sit here at my desk feeling so sad and forlorn because my 2 ½ year old grandson left my home this morning in a full-blown tantrum that I just now learned wasn’t quieted for at least 20 minutes later. All because he wanted both balloons and wouldn’t be satisfied with one over the none that his Daddy and Ampa thought he should take home. Now I certainly know that it isn’t unusual for a 2 ½ year old to have such a tantrum, but until this morning, Nanna was previously able to quash it within moments merely by distracting or appeasing with a lesser choice. Is it my failure I’m struggling with or the sadness of accepting children can’t and won’t always be happy as this little guy usually is, in a lifetime designed to deflate us regularly during the rhythm of our daily lives?
As parents and grandparents, a common goal and desire we share is to be witness to far more smiles than tears we see coming from our youngsters. Selfishly speaking, it allows me to mislead myself into believing that I can keep it that way for them as they ride this human roller coaster of life. And, when I say them, I mean both my own children as well as my grandson and the others that might bless my life in the future. Yet, we all know intellectually that isn’t possible, nor should it be. So often we rate our parenting success and failure by those tears and weigh our experience down by not recognizing the purpose they serve.
The moments resulting in tears and, sometimes, tantrums aren’t limited to our children’s experiences. They happen to all of us regularly and especially, moms and dads blowing through the daily grind, trying to manage the stress and chaos that can so easily throw us off our balance. What I now know and didn’t realize then is how necessary those breakdowns are for all of us, including the kids. If we don’t take the moments to let it all out and release the pent up frustration, sadness, disappointment, etc, we can’t make room for the rebuilding and restoration; the opportunity to refresh and replenish. Life’s journey is complicated, and being a parent adds layers to the complexity, both physically and emotionally. Not only do we need to regroup for ourselves but for the children as well, trusting that around the bend will be the reasons to smile. Let’s take a breath and find the composure we need to no longer curse the tantrums but, instead, find the strength to endure them and find the purpose they serve. I know this crying Nanna is working on doing just that herself.