teaching tears.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

when ash & jt were babies, they were "blessed" with a crazy mom.  when they cried... i came running.  yes, i held to the method of "cry it out", but even at that, in the middle of the night, if they cried, i came running.  or todd did {because} lets face it.  he can help out in the middle of the night too.  if they cried when they were hurt, i scooped them up, bounced them in my arms and whispered re-assurance in their little ears.  all the while, showing them i was present.  i was available.  i was there.  i was speaking a secret language of trust. of bonding.  of attachment.  that i was here for them & not simply there, but that they could count on me.  forever.

what if at one point you learned that your tears were not important?  what if your hurt was hushed?  what if in a moment, you were stripped of your comforter and you learned that no one would come if you cried?

seriously.  consider that for just a moment.  how heartbreaking, right?

over the last 10+ weeks i've desperately been teaching titus how to cry.  while some moms are teaching their sons to be strong and tough (like i do with jeremy)... i am teaching my son to simply cry.  to allow his tears to flow through his pain.  to break the barriers of a tough exterior.  to show that it feelings are okay.  (another issue that some people don't understand.  but you don't want your sons in an octagon with either of my sons, because no matter how tough you have made them, my sons... from the streets of DRC... will win.  they have a right hook (and a left) that will bring a strong adult to their knees.  if you don't believe me.  our bruises and scars will show you the evidence of their hurts, fears & pain).

while i am new to parenting a hurt child, this is one thing that struck me deeply: some mamas are teaching rough and tumble & i am teaching tears.  simple, beautiful tears.

each day i teach tears.
and how do i teach my "tough" sons to cry...

1.  i give them a safe place, free from judgement of others, to allow tears to happen.  titus has been deeply hurt.  and is afraid to cry.  he recently told me of when he got blood drawn in DRC, and how he "didn't cry".  uhmmm.  all kids need to cry when they get blood drawn.  they need a sweet mama there to comfort their hurt.  but he was so proud he didn't cry.  which, in turn, made me cry.

2.  i watch for signs of hurt.  for physical hurt.  for simple instances when any "normal" 5 year old would be brought to tears (like falling off a stool and banging your head on the other stool).  a few nights ago he got a bloody nose.  in the middle of the night.  he dealt with it all by himself, laying in bed, all alone.  todd had to tell him that it was okay to wake us up and tell us he was bleeding, or scared, or hurt, or sad.  friends.   it was so bad that i had to change the sheets.  wash his clothes.  make his bed for him (i just don't make the beds of my children.  it is their bed.  they can make it.  and have to make it every morning.)  but today.  when he got another one, he came to me.  i fixed it.  make sure he was okay.  and completed a cycle of attachment.  a win for us.  a win for him.  an attached child is beautiful, i cannot wait to get there.

3.  i assure him that crying is okay.  that crying is good.  (judge away all you wonderfully, beautiful who are trying to raise tough boys... but let us remember that our street kiddos are already tough and we are trying to remind them how to simply show "gentle".  huge change of pace for me.)  there is a cycle that is reinforced when a child cries & no one takes care of him.  the cycle truly breaks my heart.  who knows how many bumps & bruises titus got & just simply did not cry because no one would come to his rescue.  when he came home to us, there were definitely things that would happen to him, painful things, that he would not tell us about.  because he simply didn't know that he had someone advocating and protecting him.

4.  i encourage his tears to be cried in my arms.  no where else.  simply in a safe place.  i will go to great lengths to assure that ALL his tears are cried with me.  (at least for now).  today, after he tried to stop crying when he got hit in the head, i laid on the floor, him next to me, trying to encourage those tears to flow.  hiding his face from his brothers.  and his tears came.  rushing and healing a hurting heart.

5.  i whisper to him through his tears.  like i did with my two older kiddos.  recreating a lost childhood.  a childhood that should have never been taken from them, but was.  and we deeply are trying to give it back to them.

one simple tear at a time. 
one hug at a time.  
one laughter at a time.  
one piece at a time. 
sometimes it is one day at a time.
more often it is one minute at a time.
healing hearts & minds is hard.
pray for healing.
quick healing.
because i am worn out.

my beautiful son.  who really can beat up your son.  & i am trying to fix that.


  1. Summer, your posts are so heartfelt and honest. I commend your fighting spirit and loving nature. You are doing such a wonderful job with your sons. I know how hard it is, even though ours are younger, we have had some similar issues. It's tough, emotional and draining at times. But to see them flourish is all the reinforcement we need to keep going. Keep strong my sister.

  2. I'll pray with you today, friend. ♥

  3. What a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing the nitty gritty with us. I cried reading through this and then smiled at your picture caption at the bottom. So beautiful and so real. Exactly how God wants us...not perfect...just real, beautiful in the every day.

    I am continually praying for you guys!!

  4. LOVE!!! (Suzanne Q-K)


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