As a mom I have read many things about raising kids over the years. But one of them which has stuck with me is that children don’t say, “I had a bad day, can we talk?” they say “will you play with me?” As the events of this past week in Durban unfolded I tried to protect my children as much as I could from the realities of what we were living through. But I also found I had to give them some explanation as to why we were packing bags, leaving our home, sleeping at a family house for a few days, and then gone all day queuing for food.
While we did our best to shield them from the harsh truth, I am sure they were still left worried and anxious. The first Monday night last week when we were away from home Amy couldn’t get to sleep, complained of a sore stomach and my heart broke. I was just happy the two kids and I were sharing a bed so I was close to them to help calm any fears they may have.
Fast forward a few days and I picked up on a phrase that was being used a lot by my kids. “Mom, please play with me.” Having remembered the quote discussing this very thing I felt a warning bell go off. My heart has been so heavy, with sadness and fear, with worry and grief, it’s been hard to even smile. And even if I have smiled it hasn’t reached into my heart like it usually does.
But when my son and my daughter asked me to play with them we curled up on my bed together and we played dolls. We played together, because I saw this as a cry for help. And even though I couldn’t offer much because I was running on empty from the experience we had been through, I could offer them my time so we sat together and played.
It’s so difficult to know what our children are thinking and feeling sometimes. The best advice I can give is to show them that you are always there to listen and to try and spend some time together, just playing.
I hope you are safe wherever you may be in our country.
(Quote by Lawrence Cohen)