School Transitions and Cookie Moments
I consoled a sobbing 9 ½-year-old this morning. In between high pitched wailing explanations, I gathered enough information to know that it wasn’t at all about a “boring summer” or “summer going too fast and before we know it, it’s gone.” It was about change.
Her single digits waning, she’s feeling her age. Her older sister doesn’t want to play American Girl dolls or build a couch fort or a plan an adventure outside. She doesn’t want to play the games they both used to love. “All she wants to do is read or talk to a friend or go to town for ice cream.” After her 354th something-fun-to-do suggestion to her sis was turned down, my youngest daughter lost it.
Her sister is heading to Jr. High.
My little one’s cries unexpectedly summoned the whole family to my home office where she had wilted. As I moved her hair from her wet face and gently stroked the sobs back down to normal breaths, I found my mind in another house, in another time, consoling my first daughter as she was beginning school – 4-year-old Kindergarten, to be precise. I told the story as the four of us sat there, getting older.[quote align=”center” color=”#999999″]that cookie will never be the same as it was a moment before it broke. [/quote]
Her big sister loved learning. She loved her backpack, her teacher, the idea of a school bus, AND it was all change. It was all different.
She had a cookie in front of her that had fallen from her hand and broken into a few pieces on the table in front of her. She wasn’t a whiner kid, and so when she too fell to pieces over this broken treat, I sensed something more. Instead of my first instinct, to tell her that it was ridiculous to mourn a broken cookie… that she still got to eat the WHOLE thing, I listened. I hugged. I gathered her into my lap, close to my chest, and let her sob.
“It’s okay, Honey.”
“No, it’s not. It’s broken. The cookie will never be whole again. I wanted it whole. I liked it whole.”
I silently cried with her, knowing she was so right. It won’t be the same again. Not ever. It might still taste like a cookie and there will be thousands of other cookies in years to come that might even taste better, but that cookie will never be the same as it was a moment before it broke.
The truth was when my eldest was at school, her little sister stayed home and napped, or had “mommy time.” She wasn’t there to witness or participate. We rushed more, we met new people and saw them more and others less. We did new things, we learned new songs. Before too long, we moved where there were no fences around the yard, and now, those boundaries just keep getting bigger.
As my littlest reached for a tissue, signaling that she was done with her tears, for now, I noticed the soggy eyes of my eldest staring out the window and down at her lap and I remembered the last sweet detail of the broken cookie moment.[quote align=”center” color=”#999999″]“No Mama, there’s still more sad in me.” [/quote]
While my eldest was cozied in my lap 8 years ago, still lamenting her cookie loss, I asked her if she was ready to eat her cookie. She said, “No Mama, there’s still more sad in me.” So, I let go of the rushing, of the dishes, of the laundry, of the idea of a “big girl,” and of moving on to the next thing. I held her and our sadness, rocking us both gently until it was gone.
That day, my girls found common ground in a Wii game, giggling and jumping around. The day moved on. There will be more days (Lord willing), but not this one.
Enjoy every morsel.
Julie Ford is a certified life coach, speaker, trainer, and author of Creating Time and Energy. Her passion is championing teens and their parents as they navigate some of the richest yet most challenging transitions to independence. Together they enjoy every stage and see the treasure available in each moment.
Her background at large corporations (like GTE, Arthur Andersen, Right Management and Deloitte) paired with the love of parenting her two girls has led her to combine the best of the board room with the best of the family room. The more complaints she heard from hiring managers and the media disparaging all the younger generations, the more fired up she became to assist BOTH sides with life skills training and fresh perspectives.
Her programs, like Enjoy Every Stage group coaching, Tools of Life podcast and Tools of Life by Julz of Life videos, and Parent/Teen Communication coaching are changing lives one good human at a time. Her sense of humor, attention to what isn’t said, and her use of creative analogy create connections with her clients that move them forward towards the answers they seek.
Julie resides (and practices daily shenanigans) in southern Wisconsin with her husband Rico and two teen daughters.
Leave a question in the comments or just talk with her.