April 19, 2013

The accidental scars

There are moments of complete polarity in our days. Waking to the news of bombs going off on the other side of the world. Watching people sing for their moment in the spotlight in the evenings.

I wrote for this site earlier in the week about the way the world is delivered to our lounge rooms despite only a few minutes of footage being sourced. It circles around while you listen to presenters grappling to find new ways to offer snippets of information.

Turning off and walking away is sometimes the only option.

Turning around and explaining it to your kids is harder.

That night I sat and watched a singing show on the tele with all of my babies lined up on the lounge. A beautiful girl sang a Birdy song that my stepdaughter plays on repeat in our home. Even my husband can sing along now. We are the Von Trapps without the curtains.

In the montage, cleverly pieced together, before she took to the stage we saw her tell the story of her life. All 17 years of it. She talked about sadness and bullying and separated parents and then we got to see her mother standing side of stage willing that girl on.

As she cried. I cried.

I’m a dag for that sort of thing.

The stories of divorce that often don’t get talked about are the ones where one party never saw it coming. Where they tried their hardest to make life work. To be a good partner, a good parent, a good provider, a good worker. Despite all of these unspoken attempts there is still space, when those children are grown, for their sad stories to frame who they have become. I often fast forward my life in my head and worry that my girl will be standing on a podium somewhere telling the story of her early years and how it left a mark on her soul despite the fact that I fought hard for that not to happen.

I wonder how you remove those swords from your heart when you see your kids struggle with things that slipped through your fingers. Taking the guilt for something you are not guilty for is useless but inevitable.

I choose to tell my kids about the trauma that happens in their lives and outsideย of their home. I tell them in the simplest and most honest way I can. Every time something new happens we are reminded about the profound challenges we have in protecting ourselves. Both to our heart and our bodies.

We played that Birdy song in the car the next morning driving out to visit my oldest friend in the world. I looked back in the rearview mirror and saw my 7 year old singing it with as much passion as that girl had on tele the night before. Just without the right pitch. She was staring out the window with such clarity that I knew that despite those little scars she’d be just fine and that I’ll keep telling her that for as long as she needs to hear it. From side of stage or otherwise.

Whats your take on world trauma discussion at the dinner table?

For more resources jump on over to the fab Raising Children Network for more information.

Im linking up with Grace over here for FYBF


Join the conversation! 16 Comments

  1. It’s sometimes hard to deconstruct what happens in life. Sometimes the only way is to accept that bad things happen and it is how we react that is what is important. We too discuss the unfortunate things in the world. There is no use trying to hide from them. Teaching our girls how to deal with them, right from wrong and that it is okay to ‘feel’ is important to us.

  2. Very true Jodi – there was a lot of focus online about the role of helpers in what happened in the US this week. Its nice to see a positive reframe that focuses more on what we can do rather than harping on about what we cant control.

    Its a funny old world out there – I never noticed it as much until I became a mum to a child that needed to know everything. Right now.

  3. I don’t watch the news, I don’t let the kids watch the news either. I think that they focus too much on the bad and it is too visual for kids. I am sure your daughter won’t be telling her story in a negative light. I think we can help our kids see that it is the best and frame it in a way that helps them understand why. It will always be hard for them though ๐Ÿ™ I often wish my kids lived in the perfect nucleur family, but then we wouldn’t be our rockin blended family)

    • Ah a woman with the same ideals as me. I always say to my girls that the best part of things changing when she was little is that it gave us a chance to find our other little family. That we were all there just waiting for each other x

  4. I tell the littles what they need to know mostly. I shield the worst of it or focus on the good people helping.

  5. It is hard to shield our kids from some of the awful stuff in this world. At the same time, keeping them ‘sheltered’ is not always the answer either. So I guess it is all about finding the moments, finding the right time and protecting them however and wherever we can. x

  6. I read a fantastic book on trauma recently that looked at how animals deal with traumatic situations in the wild, by being active where possible and resting when needed. On the other hand, we suffer because we bottle it up.
    Apparently, in the grand scale of traumas, kids can deal with pretty much anything if they feel loved and the hardest thing for them to deal with is the long term withdrawal of love from the primary caregiver. If we can be there for them whenever possible, then their odds are looking okay. I am really hoping this will work in my boy’s case x

    Ps. I grew up in a divorced family, but felt loved so I don’t feel any disadvantage from it.

  7. I think you can tell your children the truth, but you can help give them a good perspective on things at the same time, instead of a fearful one. Try to hopefully get them to see the positive amongst the negative- if that makes sense? A bit like that ‘look at the helpers’ thing that’s been doing the rounds since Boston. I’d rather be the one helping my children navigate this world, then them try to do it by themselves.

    • I think so too. I often argue with my mum about the way I openly discuss things but I struggle with sugar coated things. I think that kids can see the bad with you pointing out the opportunities for growth in them? Thanks for popping over Robyn x

  8. holding back tears.

    Left to do more hard yards and explanations for something that’s blown me out of the water and left me only with my will to survive and see better days. Keeping it all age appropriate with truth is hard, because the bare truth is too awful. But bite sized pieces seems to get them through with enough for their understanding and worldview.

    thanks for writing this Sarah. truly.

  9. How did I miss this post last week? Really beautiful Sar ๐Ÿ™‚


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Mental health, Parenting


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