Oh the emotions. They are so big right now it’s startling. You WANT and you NO WANT and you have learned those words to attempt to express yourself. But some days they are not enough and you flail and screech and squawk and collapse and stomp and resist. . .the dreaded tantrum often ensues. And it frustrates me so, especially the last few days when there are a lot of things going on outside our household yet inside our inner circle that are taking most of my emotional energy. Because. Life is happening.
So this evening, you were extra screechy. Maybe because you sense I’m on edge and it makes you feel edgy. Maybe because you were tired and it was close to bedtime. Or maybe just because you stand on the edge of “two-ness” and nothing seemed to be going your way. Whatever the cause, the sound was wearing on my nerves in a major way. I had tried to distract you with several activities and had weathered the screeching by intermittently entertaining you and avoiding you for a few minutes at a time. And finally. Bedtime.
And so I announced the commencement of bedtime for Romeo. And the screeching turned to desperate, sobbing, purple-faced rage. But it was most definitely bedtime. So I scooped you up, flailing, screeching, purple-faced man-child that you are and we headed for the stairs. I was aggravated because of all the screeching. My feelings were surprisingly big because of all the hours of it that I had endured. But in the middle of the bigness of my feelings, I was suddenly aware of how you felt in my arms.
And as I held you close, the bigness of my feelings began to fade to the background as I realized how little you are and how big and scary your feelings must feel to you as you are forced to comply with this and that and lack the ability or the words for us to talk it through.
You are a deeply feeling, empathetic, soft-natured little boy. All week, as I’ve struggled emotionally with the happenings of life around us, you have offered your sweet, innocent comfort. As I’ve cried, you’ve looked into my face with tears puddled in the corners of your little eyes in sympathy. You have patted my chest and with a questioning expression, asked, “Okay, Mama? Okay?” and laid your sweet baby head on my chest or shoulder as I sat in a chair with a bad case of the sads. When you wanted to get down and play, you brought me 4 of your treasured binkies to give me comfort while you went about your toddler-sized business. You may be small but you truly FEEL things. And so while tonight felt overwhelming to me as you screeched and kicked and tried to wrest back a bit of power at bedtime, I wouldn’t change the little person you already are for anything in this world. You have the gift of empathy and you feel things deeply. And I can’t have it both ways. Because you feel things BIG, you feel everything BIG.
You will learn as you grow how to squeeze down those very BIG feelings so that they are something you can manage on your own. But until then, it’s my job to help you. And tonight, that’s what I did. I held your tiny baby frame as you traveled through your loud, screechy case of the mads and I felt how huge your feelings were in contrast to your tiny body. And I thought how hard it must be to hold those verybigfeelings inside that tiny frame. I calmly changed your diaper, brushed your teeth and put on your jammies and you gradually accepted that bedtime was inevitable and began to calm down. As I cradled you baby-style and swayed by your crib, you pointed to your projector on the ceiling and told me to “see.” I laid you down on your pillow and caressed your face and hair gently and you giggled as I hit your ticklish spot. And even before I left the room relaxation had overtaken you and your drowsy smile made me physically relax, too.
So thank you, sweet Romeo, for the lesson tonight on too big feelings and smallness. Because that’s what I’m dealing with this week. My feelings are big. The things that are happening are big. And I just feel so small and powerless. But I trust a God who is neither of those things. Just like you trust me to keep you safe and to absorb your verybig mads and sads, I trust that even though I don’t understand the bigness of life right now, He will hold me and He can handle my verybigfeelings. And as I get ready to lay my head down and sleep tonight, I look forward to seeing that big, beautiful, joyous smile of yours in the morning. You are my sunshine. You are exasperating. You are my breath of fresh air and my little Romeo. And you are totally worth it.