Wednesday, July 24, 2013

when to be ...

... tough or tender?

For a couple of years now, I have followed Jamie Ridler Studios Wishcasting Wednesday meme.
This past month, she has had guest bloggers while she mourns the loss of her mother
who passed from cancer at the end of June.
The theme of their blogs has been one of the "mom-isms" that Jamie's mother gave her ...

"It's not about being tough; it's about being tender."

Sometimes it is hard to know where to draw the line.
Especially when your heart is part of the equation.
In my own life, there have been times when I have had to draw that line
rather fiercely
and be tough in my love for someone.
Not just to protect my own heart,
but to protect his.

Working with children every day,
I often have to draw that line again,
although rather tenderly.

I remember when I once was an age where I would hope each month for the possibility of children.
I always imagined that I would have a house full.
I would lay awake at night and worry about silly things ...
like, how would I teach them to tie their shoes?
I tried to remember when my father taught me on the back of a chair with my jump rope.
How would I teach them to brush their teeth?
How would I teach them to share?
Play nice with others?
Accept responsibility?
Be honest?

How do you prepare a child for the world?

Sometimes by being tough.
By not always protecting their hearts.
By letting them feel pain ...
but also by being tender,
by letting them know that they will heal,
that your hugs will always be there,
that they will survive even when you are no longer there to wipe their tears away.

As I look back at all of the lessons my father taught me,
the tough and the tender,
I am grateful that the one thing I am the most grateful to have learned from him
is to love, respect and honor myself and others.
Sending hugs of healing to wipe away Jamie's tears today.

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