He made my stomach flip-flop over and over until I thought the butterflies would emerge from inside. I was happier than ever before.
A Broken Heart. Oh, he broke my heart. It shattered in a million pieces and I knew they would never be mended.
I don't think I had ever experienced such grief. Sadly, I had an adult in my life who thought nothing of my heart or of caring for it. Her uncaring response, "Oh get over it, there are plenty of fish in the sea!" crushed me even more.
I hated her at that moment.
I vowed that when I had children and they experienced their first heartbreak, I would be so much more than that!
My First Baby's First Love
I don't mind telling you how weird it is to see your son kissing a girl.
That's my baby for heaven's sake!
He was so happy. He danced in the hallway. He sang in the shower. He laughed over things I've never heard him laugh about. He spent hours on the phone with her. He invited her to family events. The smile never seemed to leave his face.
I remembered that feeling of elation so well.
And I prayed, Oh, how I prayed that she wouldn't break his heart.
It was not meant to be and like many first loves, it ended and he was broken-hearted.
He wanted to not believe it.
He wanted to hide from the world and lick his wounds.
He wanted to scream and cry
He wanted to be angry.
All normal parts of grieving.
And my job?
Well, my job was to love him. Love him enough to NOT tell him there were plenty of fish in the sea and to get over it.
My job was to HUG him and hug him I did. He hugged me back and cried for a really long time! (yep, I'm lucky enough to have a teenage son who allows me to hug him and who at that moment wanted mama's hug). So blessed.
As I discovered how he was feeling I learned there were three very important things he needed from me.
Three Things He Needed From Me
So many times we just want to rush in and FIX IT for our children. We don't want them to hurt. It's our job to protect our children and so it makes sense that we try to keep them from pain.
I realized though, that what my son really needed from me was not to fix it, but to simply listen. Listen to his pain, his memories- both happy and sad, to listen to what he learned about her & about himself, to listen for his cue he was ready for words of wisdom (I prayed I would have words of wisdom)
♥To Offer Empathy
When the door is opened for us to 'give advice' we often skip one of the most vital parts of connection- empathizing. Our children need to hear what they are experiencing is normal and okay. It's nice to know we're not alone in our pain and discomfort.
I started by letting my son know, break-ups suck! I knew this first hand and told him how my first love broke my heart and about the pain it caused me. I didn't go into all the details, just enough so he could see I understood his pain. Enough that he could understand what he was feeling was normal and ok.
♥To Allow Time
Our society tends to put time frames around what is appropriate and what is not appropriate lengths of time for certain things. Many times we are so uncomfortable when someone is experiencing pain or going through a tough time, we just want it to be over for them... and for us.
I wanted my son to know he was going to go through a process much like grieving a death. This was a loss; A deep loss. This was something he probably would never forget, his first love and his first heartbreak. He needed to know he could take as much time as he needed to feel his feelings and to move through each of them at his own pace. There was no right or wrong amount of time for healing.
After the Storm
He told me, it still hurt and he still loved her, but that he couldn't spend any more time wishing for things that wouldn't be. Was it ok to be happy, he asked.
That's ok, I say, life is like that a lot of times. Yes, my darling little boy (well that's how I still see him sometimes in my heart), it's ok to be happy even when there's still some pain and sadness left on the inside. We realize we can be sad, but that it's okay to go dancing through life (or the cafeteria).