I always thought it my job to be strong for my kids-and it is-but I’ve come to realise over the past year and when adversity hit, that my own children are a source of resounding strength to me, that their clarity of thought and innate kindness has been integral and that THEY nourishes me, as much as I support, them.
I’ve heard and seen this too from friends whose children have taken on and adapted to more caring roles within the family unit due to illness and who have provided great solace to their folks. Yes, childhood is to be enjoyed but it’s equally preparation for real life: the ups and the downs adolescence and adulthood brings.
I wondered if I should hide my grief from the kids when my second mum/auntie Zak died last year but they too were grieving in their own way and needed to make sense of their pain as much as mine. I needed them to know it’s healthy to cry and most of all vital to talk and reach out for help. To seek comfort. That’s there’s no shame in struggling. They often slept in our bed during those early months and their love and comfort got me through the worst of times.
I distinctly remember asking Oliver in a moment of sheer despair what I should do, such was my heartbreak. Born wise, he looked into my eyes and simply told me to, ‘Breathe’. I followed his advice and embraced yoga once more, practising daily. My son was the one guiding me when I needed it most.
This morning, I was trolled on Instagram and derided in every way possible: for the way I look (short, fat and ugly apparently), my job was targeted (worthless according to the offender) and even my kids were taken down in this cowardly attack. I didn’t mention the latter to my son of course but I told him how I’d been called names by a faceless troll online and while I knew a stranger’s opinion of me did not matter, words can still hurt. No more so when we feel low already. It was Zak’s birthday yesterday and had sleep alluded me last night so waking up to the venom wasn’t the nicest of feelings.
Turning to me, Oliver told me that I’m beautiful and more so, I’m three quarters of Daddy’s height so am not actually short. I was slumping in the photo that was targeted and Oliver’s observation honestly made me laugh out loud.
Kids say the sweetest things. Xander never fails If you need support on trolling, don’t miss psychologist Hilary McBride’s advice.
His words also made me realise that my kids’ opinions are what matter to me. That being a positive role model to them is what counts the most. When Oliver asked me if I was going to reply to the troll and inform her, she was a bully, I declined, explaining we don’t retaliate. That we win by taking the high ground. As Michelle Obama taught us, when they go low, we go high.
Yes to that and kids knowing just what we parents, need.