Tension release: From cranky to compassionate

Tessa and I had been on edge with each other all day. Finally in the early evening I invited her to cuddle with me on the couch.

“Neither of us slept well last night. I think we’re just tired,” I offered an explanation why we were both cranky.

“But mom, YOU don’t have a hurt hand, like I do,” Tessa raised her splinted wrist.

“That’s true, Sweetheart. But I’m carrying around a hurt, too. Just not the kind you can bandage up.”

“Really…? What!?” She bolted straight up, eager for some drama from her mama.

“It’s a silly thing, really.” I told Tessa about a conflict I’d been having with someone. Even though this woman was on the periphery of my life, I was giving the conflict with her way more prominence than it merited. I couldn’t shake the  malaise. It had probably contributed to my cranky.

Tessa, ever spirited, sprang to my defense. “Mama, you CALL that lady and tell her she’s a B-WORD and she should just SHUT HER MOUTH!”

I was shocked by Tessa’s force. It was as if my inner child, wounded from events of the last few days, were speaking through my child-child.

“I could do that, and I kind of felt like doing that,” I explained, “but if weapon-words did come out like that, in addition to hurting her they would eventually hurt me.”

“Besides,” I said, repeating to her what my parents had often said to me, ” you should never allow anything or anyone to lower the standards you set for yourself. If you think it’s right to behave a certain way, then you don’t let anything that another person does change what you know is right.”

“And another besides, Tessa,” I continued, “this lady has had a lot to deal with, a hard life.”

“What??” Tessa asked, and I told her some of the woman’s story, which caused her to softened a little.

“You know, don’t you,” I said, “that everyone is walking around with a story and that’s why we should always be mindful of being kind.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well,” I explained, “I didn’t know what kind of week this lady was having. You didn’t know what kind of day I was having. And when Sophie was mean to you this afternoon, she didn’t know that your hand was throbbing. If any of us had known, we might have been kinder. So why don’t we all just be kinder?”

She schnuzzled into me and we sat in silence, no longer cranky.

That night we slept well.

Images: Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net, LavenderLuz.com.

31 thoughts on “Tension release: From cranky to compassionate”

  1. Thanks for sharing Lori. So nice that you could sit down together and get over your crankiness with each other while also getting a different feeling for those around you.

  2. Kudos to you my friend. I believe the greatest gift a parent can share is that “real” part of who they are with their child. I had to often read between the lines to find authenticity and learn compassion in my life. Perhaps it’s what has made me try to be more kind and sensitive to others.

    “Who wouldn’t want to go back to when life was simple and a stuffed animal could fix all your problems? When you become Real, you will love and be loved with all your strengths, weaknesses, faults and gifts. “Real isn’t how you are made . . . it’s a thing that happens to you . . . Generally by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes droop and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But those things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

    Velveteen Rabbit

  3. Excellent post, Lori! Everyone has pain. Everyone has a story. Everyone wants love. And you’re right; if we keep that in mind, maybe we’ll treat each other with a little more kindness, even if we don’t know their story. Thanks!

  4. Lovely lesson for mom and daughter. This is what parenting is all about. I look forward to doing the same thing with my future daughter. Beautiful.

  5. oh I loved this, because it’s true. little moments shouldn’t interrupt the big stuff, the remembering that someone might just fighting a good fight with very little at one time or another. My cranky comes from there too…and so the next time I will remeber this post and just take a deep breath and move on. love ya Lor, hoping today was better!!!!! xoxo

  6. Beautifully written and said. Today, my daughter told my about one kid who said they would play with anyone in the whole school except her and her brother and instead of saying what I wanted to say (a few choice words about the parents) I said nothing, except, “I’m sorry.”

    It was really hard!!!!

  7. Absolutely gorgeous post. I can’t tell you how many times I allow someone on the periphery of my life to take front and center in the expenditure of my emotional energy. I need to recognize that I’m doing this and… stop.

    I love the point you make about still doing what you know to be right vs. letting someone else change your standards.

  8. this left me so peaceful…I have one of those B-word people in my life and I do need to remind myself that she has a rough life. I find it hard to explain this to my sons — they really don’t get it…one day, maybe they will. they just want to sock it to this person.

  9. I missed this post earlier this week and I am glad that Mel featured it in her Friday Blog Round Up today, as it gave me a nudge to come and read it.

    Beautiful post. I appreciate your perspective here. As you know I too struggle with B-word people in my life and it was helpful for me to read this today. I am glad that you and Tessa had this talk and that you shared it here for all of our benefit.

  10. I love opportunities like these – the chance to pass on important lessons to our children, to teach them how to treat one another with love and spread kindness instead of hate. It sounds like you and Tessa have a very special relationship.

  11. This is how I want to relate to and teach my little boy about how to be a great person.

    I too had recently been letting someone have a bigger influence in my life that needed to be. Once I realized that, my feelings and emotions were better. Not 100% fine, but not so raw. Thank you for this wonderful post.

  12. One act of kindness can change the world…..if we all were just a bit kinder in a our day to day lives, things would be different….now I just need to take this advice and put it into action….wonderful post and perfect for the Creme de la Creme.

  13. It is so true. We DON’T know what other people have been through in their life that makes them who they are, or act the way they do on a given day. This is a beautiful story. Great job Momma for taking the opportunity to teach your daughter in this moment.

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