Ever week after our trip to the bouncy castle at our local community center we take out new books at the library. Recently, I unintentionally picked a selection of books which included several about emotions. The only emotion I had heard my daughter express up to this point was “I feel so happy mommy”. Music to a mother’s ears.
After reading these books Sofia started to tell me on occasion that she felt sad. My heart was grieved by this development and I wasn’t sure how to take these pronouncements. I kept wondering, what am I doing wrong? what is wrong with her?
Then I realized something. The only time she told me that she felt sad was when she wasn’t getting what she wanted. This pronouncement stemmed not from a feeling of empty despair but from unmet desires.”I feel sad”, translation: “I don’t want to have to eat dinner in order to get dessert”. “I feel sad”, translation: “I don’t want you to play with Charlie, pay attention to me”. “I feel sad”, translation: “I don’t want you to wash my hair and get water in my face”. Get the picture?
Aren’t we all like that at times? I’m not two years old but I have the same reaction as my daughter. Sometimes I will go up to my husband with the same statement. “I feel sad”. Is anything wrong? Not really. This feeling of sadness doesn’t stem from my diagnosis of depression. It stems from the same place as Sofia’s “sadness”: I’m not getting my way.
So husband, next time I tell you, “I feel sad”. Pick an appropriate translation and tell me to buck up. Okay, maybe that would make me cry but remind me that as I have said before, “I am where I am and it is good”. I need to be reminded that part of being a mommy (and a human) is not always having things go my way. After all, I’m not two anymore, I should have more advanced reactions, right?