It can be easy in this big world to minimize what feels HUGE to our children. I’m here to say my job is to feel it’s just as important as my children see it to be. To sit quietly with them through their heartbreak and keep any dismissive thoughts to myself.
This past weekend my son had a game that kept crashing on his computer. With the help of his friend on Skype and said friends older brother, I got the game up and running. Which is always a victory to me. Because the truth is I don’t know much about games and how to fix computers. I know how to research and apply a layer of logic but it still fascinates me when I can solve one of their tech issues.
I had returned to the living room when I heard something I thought was playing game noise. Listening closer it was actually heartbreak. I returned to find my son on his bed, face buried in the mattress sobbing. “All my characters are gone.”
I kicked in to I can fix this mode, riding on the high of my recent success. Poking around with little understanding of what I was looking for I finally typed the words “lost all characters” with the name of the game in to google. To discover that yep upwards of four game crashes and loss of data is an issue with this game and due to a recent 20 percent cut back on staff they were not longer supporting players in the retrieval of lost data.
My son was devastated. It would be easy here to insert such words as “it’s just a game, you can make them again etc. etc.” But truly this is heartbreaking to him. This lost data is akin to me loosing an entire novel on my computer. Or loosing a months worth of photographs. The file with important contracts being deleted by accident. Or just as simple as loosing something that really mattered to me that I had put hours of my time into.
I turned to my son, “this is awful.” And then I listened to why he was sad. Gathered his tears in tissues. Held him. May have dropped a tear or two myself. Walked with him to tell the others about his loss. Held him some more. He cried hard for a good 20 minutes.
When we give our children the ability to mourn what ever losses are important in their lives we tell them with our actions that they matter. When we hold space for our children to truly feel that loss we help them to release it. When we show up with love for our children when their hearts are breaking (no matter why) we build the sort of foundation that grows strong, confident human beings.