“A Cookie, Cry and Conversation”


This afternoon while I was composing an email, my anxiety overwhelmed me and my eyes watered. I walked into my 9 year old son’s empty bedroom and shut the door. I stepped up the ladder to his loft bed, knelt face down onto his Minecraft blanket and cradled my forehead in my palms. I cried non-stop for five minutes, body shuddering, yelping breathing, snotty nose, wet cheeks. 

My son Dylan walked in.

“Mom, can I have a cookie?”
“Yes, go get it yourself, ok?”
“Mommy, are you crying?”
“Yes.”
“Mommy, why are you crying?”
“I’ll tell you later.”
“Are you fake crying?”
“No, Dylan.”
“Mom, why are you crying?”
“I’ll tell you later, ok? Go get your cookie. I just need to cry right now, okay? Remember how we talked about alone time?”
“But this is my room.”
“Well, Daddy is using our room all day because he’s working from home now.”

Dylan left the room and returned in a few minutes.
“Mommy, are you done crying? Now can you tell me why you’re crying? 
I cried some more. Dylan climbed up to the bed.
“You know how sometimes when you fall and hurt yourself or when someone hurts your feelings? Then you cry it out because it hurt?”
Dylan nodded.

“Then after you cry, you feel so much better because you let out your tears? Well, sometimes mommies need to cry too.  During spring break, when all this Covid stuff started happening, everything’s changed. It’s been hard on me, you and Daddy. Mommy yells more, Daddy yells more. I’m not working, you’re not going to school or seeing your friends, there’s no routine and people are getting sick. It makes me sad and stressed out.

I’ve been holding in all that sadness and stress and haven’t cried yet. So that means I’ve been holding back all those tears for five weeks and today I was finally ready to let them go! Don’t worry, Mommy will be okay. I just needed to cry it out and now that I’ve cried, I feel much better.”

“Okay. Now can I have a cookie?”
“You didn’t help yourself?”
“No.”
“Okay, lets get a cookie. I need one too.”

Damn, it felt good to cry today.

(Featured cookie photograph: Courtesy of Pexels)

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“The Learning Village: Six Word Stories by Our Children”


My brother-in-law, “Mr. B” volunteered to teach the children of our families educational lessons during the pandemic. “The Learning Village” (our online school, named by his 9 year old daughter) is comprised of Mr. B’s mindful curriculum and nine students (cousins and friends) ranging in age from 6 to 12 years.

For one of the lessons, after discussing the Corona virus, students were asked to draw a character or comic of  a “virus” and talk about what people need to do to stay safe. Other lessons focused on music, emotions, mindfulness and meditation. The students look forward to their lessons with Mr. B, get a chance to see the faces of their friends online and parents get a 60-90 minute break from their kids, three afternoons a week. It serves as an meaningful practice and an introduction to what future organized online learning with our teachers and school districts might look like during this time.

Mr. B asked me to teach a lesson on “Six Word Stories”. Our class had a thoughtful discussion about the legendary “first six word story” written by Ernest Hemingway, “For Sale: Baby shoes. Never worn” and then I asked the kids to create their own six word stories inspired by the above photograph featured on this post.

Here’s what the children of “The Learning Village” wrote.

 
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“I could hear the calm water.” By Dylan, Age 9.
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“Sits on a rock with peace.”  By JB, Age 10
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“Dylan sat on a wet rock.”  By MB, Age 10.
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“Baseball is enjoyable in the sun.”  (a player who misses the pitch) By CB, Age 12
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“Many years passed, so did he.” (The photo triggered a memory about the writer’s family cat who passed away. The cat loved playing in the forest.)  By EM, Age 12.
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“Many tears, many people, many flowers.” (a funeral memory) By NM, Age 9.
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“I will never let you go.”  By AJ, Age 9
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“A frog that looks like Dylan.”  By TJ, Age 6.
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“Discovered some thing on a rock.”  By NMB, Age 9
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Family, Friendships and Love Relationships in Six Words


Family, friendships and love relationships deliver love, heartbreak, happiness, sorrow, conflict and understanding. If I reflect on the past, sometimes I understand the meaning behind my struggles and challenges I face today, knowing those relationships form a part of who I am, but do not define me.

If I embrace the present, I possess the choice to make a positive change or slip back and trigger the anxiety of yesterday by reliving it along with any guilt, shame or anger I experienced during those moments or relationships. Most days I make the brighter choice; the anxiety doesn’t disappear but my perspective shifts and gives me hope. Six words tell my truth.

Opening space within myself for love.

Change initiates from self, not others.

Peace finds way through common ground.

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“Olive branch of love” (artist unknown)  Photo by MC.

Reconnecting without judgment of past wrongdoings.

Forgiving self and others for failing.

Light at end of the tunnel.

 

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“Finding light.”  Photo by MC.

Reuniting families brings hope to soul.

Relationships blossom when our hearts connect.

Holding hands together as a unity.

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“United” Photo by MC.

Feature photo: “LOVE. It’s all you need.” 2007, sand artist unknown. Photo by MC.