Loving parents always suffer a little when witnessing their child’s sadness from a loss. Knowing that disappointments will inevitably happen does not remove a parental tug to fix and make everything right.
Last week, Daisy, our one-year-old great-granddaughter, noticed a large and colorful dead insect on the sidewalk of the apartment where she lives with her parents. Although Daisy initially felt frightened, her mom’s gentle explanations quickly erased her fears. After accepting her mom’s assurances, Daisy made “friends” with the colorful insect. Each morning and evening, Daisy greeted and chatted with her friend. When leaving, Daisy waved goodbye. Spotting that colorful insect always produced a Daisy smile.
As often happens in life, the situation changed. While Daisy attended daycare, the complex cleaned the sidewalks and steps surrounding the apartments. In the process, the insect, now dead for several days, washed away. That evening, Daisy’s parents quietly watched as she searched in vain for her friend. They wordlessly shared Daisy’s moments of sadness and obvious confusion.
Noticing when others feel sad, becomes a positive, although often uncomfortable, human trait. Often, quietly being present provides more comfort than the most carefully selected explanation. The disappearance of a colorful insect will not be Daisy’s last, or greatest loss. Hopefully, the quiet support of her parents eased her bewilderment. Tucked away in her budding psychic, Daisy possibly began building her personal foundation for dealing with life on its own terms.
Life doesn’t permanently feel good. Parents will not always be able to prevent disappointments. Maybe, in the larger scheme of life, helping diminish fears as well as being present during disappointments become much more important than being able to totally safeguard.
Lessons Daisy learned from losing her insect friend possibly include, “My parents care. I’m not alone.
Life goes on.” Fairly profound insights for a one-year-old.
Yes, I realize this seems a little strange. However, I imagine that the things parents say and how they act will influence a baby's life more than they can realize. Better to err by starting too soon than to miss the opportunity to plant seeds of love and confidence.