A Lesson From My 8-Year-Old
A Tribute to Brown Blankie
Life as a parent is difficult; I don’t care who you are. Life as a divorced parent has a few more complications.
Here’s a recent story that broke my heart.
It was the last transition before the end of summer camp and Dad had dropped off the girls' things; 2 bags full of “stuff for Mom’s” including my daughter’s precious brown throw blanket affectionately known as “Brown Blankie”.
There are two things you have to know about my daughter to understand the significance of this Very Loved Blanket (VLB): 1) my daughter is a self-proclaimed fashionista and this is a very plain (and ratty with love) brown blanket and 2) this blanket represented her “pre-divorced” life.
When I picked the girls up I was told that Brown Blankie didn’t make it to school; that Dad packed him (note: the blanket has a living pronoun) but forgot to drop him off.
I didn’t double check.
When Dad picked the girls up on Sunday, my eldest daughter learned that Brown Blankie was NOT at Dad’s.
She was sad but hopeful we would find it.
I did what I could; I drove to multiple locations, made 5-6 phone calls all in search for this VLB.
When I discovered the location of the VLB at a local Food Bank, I drove there with my girls after having left a very teary message to the program director regarding VLB. We arrived (along with a donation of clothes) to find out that just that morning, the precious VLB had been given to a homeless couple who were living, without shelter, in the woods.
So there was my daughter holding back her tears with all of her strength in the middle of the Food Bank over the tragic loss of her Brown Blankie. After a tour and a discussion on what the Food Bank did for people in need, we returned home.
This is when my daughter allowed the fullness of her sadness to engulf her.
She disappeared to her room where she sobbed; air-gulping, heart-wrenching cries of sadness. She spent most of the day in some form of tears.
Everyone in the house was on-edge.
Bedtime was hard.
And then morning came, and my darling little girl, with puffy eyes from all of the tears released the day before came downstairs and said to me, “Mom, my heart feels better this morning. It’s a little cold out and I’m glad that my special blankie is being used to keep someone warm who really needs it.”
That’s when I started to cry; tears of pure joy, love and pride for the soul in front of me who’s heart and spirit are made of gold.
Loss is such a difficult experience.
Unexpected loss can even be harder. I’m still grieving over things that were stolen from me due to a burglary over a year ago and here was my little girl, growing up before my eyes and embracing a new perspective of the sadness of her yesterday, just a few short hours later.
In that moment, I knew how much I could learn from my little girl and I set about re-framing my own losses of the past.
It’s amazing how much healing can come from looking at a past hurt with fresh eyes and a warm heart.
Action: What losses in your life are still taking up space in your head and your heart? What else could you be doing with that energy? How can you frame your loss differently to lessen the pain and enhance the joy?
Benefit: When you can re-frame your sadness in a way that begins to heal your heart, you release the negative energy to make room for goodness and light; you begin to see the love, joy and possibilities that didn't exist before. You feel warmth emanating from your heart and soul.