Sunday, July 27, 2008

Toddler Tears

Babies cry... little children cry. Anyone who has sat through an hour or more of church, traveled frequently by airplane, or gone grocery shopping anywhere is aware of this fact.

Of course I knew this before I ever had children. I had seen my older siblings and friends with their little ones and been there for many a boo-boo or temper tantrum. But what I didn't know and wasn't prepared for was how the crying of MY children would make me feel.

I was amazed at my reaction when my first baby cried. I just wanted to make it all better. I was frantic to solve any problem, major or minor to spare my baby pain or discomfort. Now that we have been through two years together and Jonah has a little brother, I guess you could say that I am a little more used to crying.

I have learned to distinguish different kinds of crying, so I don't always react the way I used to. But I still can't get over the way I sometimes feel when I hear one of my boys crying. It can be terrifying, exasperating, annoying... and heart-wrenching.

This weekend Jonah had a fever. We didn't know why he had a wasn't feeling well, but he was burning hot. We talked to our doctor's office and they said we could bring him in, but it might just be a virus and then they wouldn't be able to do anything for him. So we dosed him with Tylenol and tried to help him feel better.

It was hard to watch my little boy moan and cry, knowing I couldn't fix it. I know that during his life he will experience physical pain and I won't be able to make it go away. That knowledge squeezes my heart a bit.

Even worse, I know that he will experience emotion pain. Someone will be mean to him and hurt his feelings. He will have a crush that won't be returned. He will not do well in a race, at a game, or on a test. I am sure there will even be times when my efforts to discipline him or be a "good" parent will cause him tears.

I hope that I can be the cure for his tears more often than the cause. But I know that no matter what I do I cannot save my little boys from tears. They will cry because they won't always get what they want. Sometimes they will cry because they are afraid, or sad, or frustrated. They will probably cry because we are mean, rotten parents. No matter how hard I try to stop it, they will get hurt... physically and emotionally. The best I can do is be there for them to comfort them and help stop the tears.

It's a part of life and growing up. There will be sorrow, pain, and tears at times in our lives, but this is what makes us strong. These experiences show us how much we are truly loved.

Your children will cry and sometimes you will have to let it happen-- even if it breaks your heart.


  1. I am going to cry a lot today reading these writing prompt posts. What a lovely and wonderful post - it's so true. I have defined parenthood as a series of moments of pride and of heartbreak. I know that no matter how old my boy gets, I will still experience both. It's so hard, but so rewarding.

  2. Those tears are heartbreaking. Parenting is most definitely the hardest job I've ever had and those tears are one of the things that makes it so hard. Great post. :)

  3. I am sometimes so afraid of the tears and heartbreaks my children may bring to me someday, wanting me to fix them. I think the scariest thing about being a parent is not being able to fix everything.

  4. Beautiful entry! I love the photos that go along with it.

    I don't have any children, so I love posts like this. They give me a great glimpse into motherhood and the love you have for your children. It's truly remarkable!

  5. I truly hate hearing/seeing my children cry, it is so very heartbreaking indeed. Especially when they have a fever and cannot express how they feel other than by crying.

  6. It's one thing when they cry/yell, but when that first tear came out....oh, true empathetic heartbreak!

  7. You're a good mom with high hopes. I have come to find out that I cause a lot of tears. Hopefully we can help them find ways to express their emotions, and if means crying, so be it.

  8. I hated it when my babies cried. Now that they are older, it just kinda drives me nuts. At least the crying they do when they don't get their way. I still feel terrible when they cry from pain. But not if it's because they have been fighting and one of them "hurt" the other.
    Boy I sound like a "quality" parent, don't I?