I know the Super Bowl is over now and many people have already moved on. For our family though, football season ended in the second round of the playoffs. We are HUGE Cowboys fans! Did you see the game against the Packers?!? Did you see the Cowboys amazing comeback, to then lose in the last 3 seconds of the game? Ahhh, it was heart wrenching! Well, this family did.
We watched, we paced, we yelled, we jumped up and down hysterically, we threw high fives till our hands hurt, and we bit off all our nails. Yet, in the end all our good vibes, superstitions and yelling like they could actually hear us, didn't work.
The whole family was here, even my parents who claim to be Seahawks fans. We know they are closet Cowboys fans though. We grilled wings, made mules, the kids swam, and we watched hard! It was a gut wrenching game but it was also a blast!
Our 8 year old daughter, Taylor, held down a chair front and center of the TV the entire game. Wearing her favorite Cowboy hat she barely left her chair. Taylor loves Cowboys football. She is like she is with most things in life- ALL IN!!
At the end of the game when we lost and realized that was the end of our road for this season. Some of the adults got quiet. Some said things like "heck of a season, we'll be back next year!" You know, the things you say as a mature adult. But, Tay, our sweet Tay was standing there with her head hung low in a puddle of tears- absolutely devastated! She ran to her Gdaddy, probably because he looked as distraught as she was. He scooped her up and just held her!
As her mom, my first instinct was to immediately console her and explain and teach her it's just a game. To give her the lesson that in the grand scheme of the world it doesn't really matter and it isn't that big of a deal. It is really just for entertainment and fun. Ideas that come with a certain level of maturity- but then I stopped. Does she need to learn those things...yes, absolutely she does! However, in that moment it dawned on me the more important lesson is that she needs to be allowed to feel exactly what she is feeling and trust that was she is feeling is real and true to her.
If the adults around her are telling her it isn't a big deal yet she feels so much, she will learn to ignore and push aside those very real feelings. She won't trust that what she is feeling has validity. If the grown ups around her tell she is overreacting or that her emotions aren't the socially appropriate response, she won't feel it is ok to be honest with how she feels. I don't want her to numb out her emotions. I want her to listen to herself and trust how she is feeling first and foremost.
"We cannot selectively numb emotions, when we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions" - Brene Brown.
This little 8 year feels big and loves hard and is so sensitive! She feels all the feel and my husband and I can both attest that it can sometimes be really exhausting to parent.
What happens if we squelch that? To me that seems detrimental. I don't want anyone- especially me- telling her whether her emotions are good or bad. They just are!
I would much rather teach my kids to get curious about what their emotions are telling them. My job is show them that emotions aren't directions they are just data. Tune into what they are really saying. If I don't let them feel it all and express it then I will miss out on real authentic conversations with both of them. I won't ever get the chance to learn what really matters to them.
So on this night of Cowboys loss, Jon and I decided to let her be exactly where she was. In a big puddle of tears. We refused to make her see the bright side, the silver lining, or scooting her along to positivity so everyone around her felt more comfortable. Instead, we chose to hold her up and listen and what we learned in the days that followed as we processed how she was feeling was the real depth of those tears and emotions.
For Taylor the loss of that game meant the end of the season of gathering our family every Sunday night. She expressed how much she loved our whole family being together and how happy that makes her. She expressed how she loved that we were all cheering for the same thing and even wearing all our Cowboys gear at the same time. She was showing us her heart! What really matters to her! What is important to her!
This kind of emotional intelligence is something I am still working really hard at. Trusting what I am truly feeling without pushing it aside or saying the socially acceptable thing and really acknowledging what the depths of me is saying is a daily practice for me. If I can teach our precious 8 year old to tune in, get curious and keep feeling all the feels I think maybe, just maybe, she will be really ok in this life.
Lots of Love,