Recently a very close friend of mine shared a beautiful video called "Children Full of Life" filmed in Japan. (See link below) It is about this amazing teacher who encourages his students to write real experiences in a notebook and share it in class. In doing so the kids learn compassion, empathy and the grace of their sharing. Such a pleasure to see these 10 year old kids open their hearts and lift each other, some came from very sensitive, life-shattering experiences.
This inspired me to write about trapped emotions, how important it is to find a healthy release of unwanted feelings, and how essential it is to share our own painful experiences to those who are willing to listen as they may be purged of their own pains and all can heal each other in the process.
I know how important it is to live in the present, but I've learned that there comes a point in our lives that we really need to go a few steps back to see if there was anything left unsettled... So we can free ourselves from the ball and chain that we carry over to the present day.
I've learned too that no man is an island, and that people need to reach out and see oneself in another. Empathy, compassion and kindness is the way to a meaningful existence.
To those who may not know, I am a single mom. My 5 year old daughter Kaya has been the most wonderful gift , and being a mother has given my soul much fulfillment, joy and learning. I never really talked about the father, and I didn't find the need to do that until today. My relationship with him was far from perfect, but it was instrumental in the shaping of my soul too. We were together for 6 years, before we realized that we no longer share the same reality, and decided to part ways. Half of this time with him was spent with Kaya. The first few years we spent apart were marked with conflict, blame and anger.
It took us a while to realize that in keeping our grudges alive the only one who truly suffers in the end will be our daughter. I took the first step and forgave him, soon after, he did the same and we remain friends to this day. We both agreed to move past our differences and focus on only one thing, our child -- to dedicate our lives in being the best parents that we can be, and to make certain that she knows how much she is loved. Since then, we have both moved on and life has been more harmonious on both ends.
It wasn't easy getting to this point, but we made it, and we're both proud of it. But just when I thought we were all good and things were more prosperous, came a new challenge. How to tell Kaya that there is someone else in daddy's life. You see , in the years I spent taking care of my child on my own I never showed her my grief and sadness because I chose to be a source of joy, as it should always be. I kept telling her, when she would look for her daddy, that he was just on a long vacation. I thought it best to hide the real situation and told myself that someday, when she is old enough she will get it, and understand it all for herself. But when she turned 5, she started asking so many questions I never thought she would be asking at her age. It was then that I finally took up the courage to confront my fears of seeing her hurt. I could no longer stand making up stories about our situation. I promised myself that the next time she asks, I will tell her the truth. And she did. She asked me when daddy was going to come home, and I told her that he was never coming back home, and that there is someone else in his life now, but it doesn't mean he loves her less. In fact he loves her more. We both love her more.
I watched as she listened intently, she didn't show any sign of anger, she didn't even cry, but she looked confused, I saw in her face how she was trying so hard to grasp the idea, eventually she spoke and asked one question-- "Why?".
As a mother this really gripped my heart... I wanted to comfort her and explain what had happened, without bringing up the hard issues and without painting an ugly picture of her father, because we were both at fault, and I have forgiven him since ---no matter what happens he will always be in her life. ... So this is what I told her:
"Kaya you see we are all fruits, but daddy found out that he is an orange and mommy found out that she is an apple. So he kinda needs to be with another orange and now, he found that orange. But guess what, you're special, because you are half an orange and half an apple."
I don't know how she got it, but she did, and then she nodded her head and said , "Ohhhhh ok ok!" so nonchalantly, she even smiled before she left the room to play outside. Wow, that wasn't as hard as I thought it would be, I thought. She actually came out of it better than any other child would. At least I thought she did.
A few weeks later, I was putting her to sleep and told her that she needs to wake up early because daddy will pick her up the next day to spend a day with him in his new house, with his new wife. And the unexpected happened, her face turned red, and she looked hurt, and mad, she turned her back on me and said "Hmmph! I don't want to see her. I only want to be with my daddy! No one else!!"
I didn't ask her why she said these things, after we already discussed the issue. I knew exactly what was wrong. So I said,
"Hey... I know how you feel...and I'm sorry things turned out like this, I cried a lot once too... and I want you to know that if you want to cry , you can do that too. It's okay to cry to mommy."
I sensed it right. The moment I said that she turned her head around my way and hugged me and started to cry, just like any little girl would cry. She poured her heart out, and I saw it so clearly, her little heart in every little tear flowing down her little cheeks... I started to cry too. She told me how much she misses her daddy. And I told her how much he misses her too.
Imagine at 5 years old, she was capable hiding such strong emotions... I was amazed at how, at such a young age she was already willing to do this, not because she wanted to lie.But rather because she knew what was more important. Joy, and Happiness. She hid the pain because it was not her. But it was still trapped somewhere in her , she never let it go ... this is why she reacted this the way she did. The fear that she tried to hide was activated when a trigger set it off, and I pulled that trigger. I'm glad I did, because that night, when we were both crying, we let go of something that was not a part of us, and I felt us shifting, we had given our souls a new found freedom.
When the time arrived for her to meet her dad's wife she was ready, and she saw her as a friend, not a stranger or an enemy, but a part of her life. Just recently she gave birth to a baby girl, yes Kaya is now a big sister. She was so thrilled... and she loves her so much she is all she can ever talk about , and she would always count the days til she sees her baby sister again. She goes to visit them every weekend.
One night before we slept we said our usual prayer to our Guardian Angels and she added something "and dear angels please don't forget to find an apple for mommy."
That night, I shed another tear, not one of sadness but one that springs from waves of joy for hearing what she had just said, and for knowing that my little squeeze is happy and her little heart will be okay.
Here is the video I was talking about:
CHILDREN FULL OF LIFE Part 1/5
Photo by Florent Courty