Julien is a dear friend of mine. She is one of those people you just want to hug all the time, gentleness and love just flow from her as if it’s the most natural occurrence on earth. She just draws you near with a never ending capacity. Her kids went to the same little playschool as mine.
At the end of last year, she did something that will stay with me forever. Something quite simple, yet incredibly meaningful, given the context. The year was long, capacity at its end, resources exhausted with slim to no chance of it being replenished again. A mother carries so much on her shoulders with regards to her children, especially the emotional burden can sometimes be unbearable. Our kids’ bodies are tired at this time of the year, their hearts can’t comprehend this tiredness and they can much less try and explain this to us. We wonder what we can do to help them that will actually be meaningful. More often than not, we can’t even help ourselves!
One morning, I walked into our kids’ little playschool and found her, humble, vulnerable, flat on the floor with her son. The day and night before were immensely difficult with him and she didn’t have any advice left. But there she sat where he sat, becoming as small as he was, even smaller. And that is all she did. Without saying a word, she sat with him, kids playing and shouting around them, there they sat. And she sat there until they both found the courage to stand up and go on again.
I stood there watching her and could clearly see her heart for her child. She sat with him to experience life from where he was. She saw how tall the walls around them were, how gigantic the teachers appeared, how much busier and louder the other children were. She saw what he saw, heard what he heard, felt what he felt. And for a moment in time, she understood and their hearts experienced the same thing. She was on his level. Simple gesture, yet astonishing in its effect.
Maybe, most days, that is all we need. Maybe that is all we need to know for now. Mothers, fathers and our children. To just sit alongside each other. No words, no plan, no purpose, no reasonable or unreasonable advice. To sit until we find the strength to get up and go on.
Thank you, Julien, for you humble gesture. You are an amazing mother, one I look up to.
On this subject, I love the song by James called ‘Sit down’. Here, an extract:
“Those who feel the breath of sadness, sit down next to me.
Those who find they’re touched by madness, sit down next to me.
Those who find themselves ridiculous, sit down next to me.
In love, in fear, in hate, in tears…