This week, Precious Maryn, now 5 years old, got to start school. Transitional Kindergarden…..a really big step for her because it is the school she has seen her older siblings come to, and riding the bus, and all of that. Open house was Monday and school started Tuesday. We had had a few days, starting last weekend, with some threatening behaviors and moods….you know the kind….where you know it is just a matter of time before a meltdown or a rage or both are coming. I was bracing myself because I was paying attention to this child. I knew it would be stressful to start school. Stress is a big deal for my girl. I am so grateful for the work of Karen Purvis and Dan Siegel and others who are teaching us about kids who come from hard places, and brain chemistry, and cortisol, and healing…..more grateful this week than ever.
So, yeah. It was threatening to come already on Saturday and Sunday, but on Monday, after open house at school the dam broke and the floods rushed in and the epic tantrum/rage/fit ensued….full-on. They don’t happen as often these days, but when they do, its a big deal. The stress hormone cortisol is an ugly beast. It changes a sweet and generous and intelligent child into a raging monster with no rational thought in her head or way out of it……and so that is where we were on Monday night when I really wanted to be melancholy and look at pictures of my beautiful daughter as a newborn, and growing into this school girl…..but that was a luxury not afforded to me on Monday.
Her dad tried to work her through it because I was still taxiing the other kids to their open houses and working around football practice and such…..and the other kids need their time too, ya know? They need mom’s undivided attention once in awhile. Sharing my attention is hard for Precious. Dad had to leave for a meeting at 9pm and the rage raged on so I texted him: “should I come in” “yes, please” I came into her room as she screamed and cried and grunted and flailed and raged on and on…..and I turned the lights on ( dad thought it would help if it was dark but that didn’t help. Sometimes shedding light on something is better)…..so I turned on the lights and I sat beside her and rubbed her back. I said a quick prayer and asked the Lord to help me….and then I said:” Precious. You are safe. You are whole. You are loved. You are smart. You are worthy. You are special. You are important. You are beautiful. You are mysterious….”.etc and the Lord was able to make my voice calm and loving and gentle even though I didn’t feel it inside…..and after a long while of this mantra her tears and screams changed and got softer. “Mom…..” “Yes?”……more tears and sobs…..”I just don’t feel very safe!”……and that was the thing. she was scared. Scared to the end of herself…..about school and everything changing and all we had hyped it up to be. My baby girl was scared. She didn’t feel safe. Stress feels unsafe to this child.
We have a long road ahead with her. There are lots of stressful events in life. I have to say though, that hearing her tell me that her rage was because she felt unsafe was an epic moment of a-ha for me. Epiphony, even…..connected parenting takes on a whole new meaning for me if my child loses control primarily when she feels unsafe. Why? Cuz I live for the One who promises the shelter of mighty wings…..and the rock to stand on in the storm…….
My Lord is the master of safety and a secure foundation. Guess what, Precious Maryn. We are gonna be ok. We love and serve the living Lord who holds it all in the palm of his hand, and he knows the heartbeat of your chest and he created you. He. Created. You. He’s got this, baby girl. We’re gonna be ok.