Peel that Onion Please
This morning I had some great girl time with my baby girl. She was telling me all about her yesterday. She met up with her “BFF” at church where they served together on the last day of VBS. Afterwards, she went to her house where they swam, ate dinner, went shopping and ended the day at a yogurt shop. She was showing me pictures and showing off her latest “BFF” gear. How many BFF’s does a girl have, I wondered. I asked her what her other “BFF” would think when she saw her pictures on Instagram. “She’ll know how I feel when I see her pictures with ‘Roni.'” My mommy ears perked up and I asked her if it hurt her to see those pictures. She said no and was adamant about it not hurting. Were you at least tweaked? Pinched? Bothered at all by it? Nope, she said as her eyes welled up with tears. Oy!! I’m needing some quick wisdom here. Do I impose MY belief on her that I do not believe in best friends? Do I break it to her that your best friend usually has a best friend besides you and chances are great that your best friend has shared a tidbit or two about you?…that’s what best friends do! I was on a quest for an answer before I broke it down to her. I switched roles with her and asked her to teach me. Show me how one can have so many “best friends” without there being a conflict. She named her besties and it would appear that they are separated by category. There’s the school BFF; the neighborhood BFF and the church BFF. What happens, I ask, when you have a party and they all come? Who’s your BFF then, huh? She looks at me all puzzled, like I’m the one who is confused. I’m thinking I may be overthinking this BFF thing, so I’m thinking I should stay in my lane and instead address those tears I saw in my girl’s eyes.
Well, that exchange prompted a discussion regarding emotions and the reality that we have ’em, but they shouldn’t have us. They shouldn’t change us, paralyze us, debilitate us. I encouraged her to acknowledge her emotions so that she could avoid the tendency to cover, conceal, deny them, which would invariably give them power over her. I told her not to be ashamed to be vulnerable with someone she could trust; someone who won’t judge her (LIKE ME—CHOOSE ME); someone who could be her soft place; someone who will encourage her; listen to her; pray for her; hold her and tell her it’s gonna be better. With that she snuggled next to me and put her head on my lap. I brushed her hair back and did just that. Instead of breaking it down to her (my BFF theory) I told her about my onion theory. I explained that an onion consisted of many layers and peeling those layers back makes you cry…it’s uncomfortable, messy and rather annoying, but it’s necessary. I told her how people have a tendency to cover their hurt…to never address their issues. Instead they add layer after layer thinking that if they cover the hurt and not address it, it will go away. It never goes away, though. We just create onions and the peeling away of those layers make you cry, is uncomfortable, messy, rather annoying, but necessary. “I don’t want you creating onions, Mariah. Address your emotions, acknowledge them and heal. Don’t bury them…disable them!”
We were interrupted by my husband who reminded her that her BFF would be by to scoop her up for day two of BFF time. She sat up and gave me a kiss. I walked into her room a short time later and as she was tying her shoes, she looked up at me and said, “thanks for loving me, mom.”
Should I have shared my BFF theory? No, she’ll either see it my way or prove me wrong. I’m hoping and praying for the latter!