Mama Ginger Tree doesn't live here anymore.  I have moved to The Norwindians.  The names have changed, but we're the same family.  Please add The Norwindians to your reader!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Why Are You Crying Mom?

Today I was sitting down with my kids having an afternoon snack when the phone rang.  It was one of my dearest and oldest friends, VM.  I could tell immediately that something was wrong.  VM lost her mom to cancer when she was quite young and she and her dad are very close.  She was calling to tell me that her dad has a brain tumor and will be having surgery to remove it within the next couple of days.  My heart sank.  She is an only child and thus has to deal with the doctors, her father's affairs and call the family all on her own.  Of course she is not entirely on her own, she has a very supportive husband and lots of friends who will rally to her side, but still.  Also, when you have already lost a parent, the thought of losing the other one is frightening, no matter how old you are.  VM has a four year old little boy whose best friend is his "papa" and I know she's worried about him as well.

At any rate, when I got off the with her, I was crying.  My kids were clearly a little freaked out.  They know VM and her family, so I was honest with them about why I was upset and after answering five hundred questions they seemed OK.  Princess Frostine made a point to say that she had only seen me cry one time before.  It was when our beloved nanny had her last day with our family and I cried when she left.

It has all made me think about what emotions I express in front of my kids.  My mom rarely showed her emotions in front of us.  She sugar coated everything from our sliced bananas to her feelings.  She still does.  I don't think this is necessarily the right approach.  I am not one to shed tears often, so I think it made my kids feel insecure, but the more we talked about it, I could see their fears lifting.  I think it's good for them to see that I was upset for my friend and we talked about what we can do to help her.  Mr. Mint and I are not always good about hiding our arguments from them.   If I am really angry, I just can't wait until they go to bed to *ahem* express it to him.  

One of the reasons I started this blog is so that my kids can read it someday and get a window into my memories of these times.   Do you shield your emotions from your kids?  If you argue in front of them do you make a point to let them see you "work it out?"  Leave your thoughts in the "comments" section below (all two of you who read this).

And VM, you know I will do anything for you and I'll be here for you, your family and your dad in the coming weeks.


Anonymous said...

I tend to definitely avoid arguments with dad around the kids and if we do "ahem" disagree, I try to keep it civil. My 4 year old is so sensitive to changes in our tone of voice, she has even accused us of "not being nice". I can read the look on her face if she perceives something is wrong. I kind of want her to not have to deal with that kind of adult stuff just now, b/c I don't think emotionally, she can "get it" yet. On the other hand, we do talk about feelings a lot, especially things like when you don't listen to you babysitter and throw a fit, it makes her sad (and mom, mad!). So, I don't think I sugar coat stuff, but I'm trying to remember her age and what she is capable of understanding and not stress her out with things that will make her insecure (i.e. mommy and daddy fighting)
-Queen Bee

Jolly, the sister said...

As your sister, I obviously grew up in the same environment as you did, and I can't believe I never realized this... I do the exact same thing as Mom!!! ...and by the way, I totally remember the sugar covered banana slices in milk we used to eat. What the? Like bananas aren't already sweet? Anyway, I don't blame Mom (as I know you don't either), because I'm sure a lot of it came from the way she was raised - along with the fact that she felt so guilty that we had to grow up without a Dad.

What a great observation though - I've really had an "ah ha" moment here!!! I think I sugar coat things and keep stuff inside, until it builds to a point that I either get depressed or it comes out in very unproductive ways. Huh. I'm going to have to remember this. I'm also going to have to make a point of non sugar coating things for my kids.

Thanks Oprah, I mean Mama Gingertree!

VM said...

MGT, I just checked out this entry and (nothing shocking here) am near tears. Boy did you nail the definition of "framily" (friends who are like family). Going through all this, in some ways I've never felt so alone and in other ways I've never felt so supported. As the days went by and we knew what we were dealing with and passed certain milesteones, the latter definitely took over and the loneliness quickly dissolved. Friends and family were all around us--offering food, to watch our son, to visit, to run errands, etc. You, my fabulously wonderful (and all too incredible of a cook) friend and "sister" made all the difference. I love you and I love your family for lifting us up when we needed it most. A toast to framily, emotions and kick butt food and cards prepared by the Candy Cane Forest gang!