There is a place that I take each of you frequently. A quiet place. A calm place. A place where time has no meaning. It is a place that I carry you to when you are infants, that you toddle to as a toddler as I hold your hand. A place that I follow you to as you become older and understand how to get there. A place that as a young adult you’ll ask me the directions to, and a place that you will return to as an adult when you’re off in the world alone. A place that you will be able to go to when you are very very old in order to feel close to me when we are no longer able to be close in this world.
We go there in the bright light of the day. We go there in the deepest darkest quietest hours of the night. We go there together no matter what else is happening. We’ll put everything down and find our way there together. Homework, dinner going cold on the stove, the shopping cart full of groceries, the argument where you started hitting each other. The day’s plans. The party. The boat ride. The craft project. The Easter Egg hunt.
I leave my warm sleepy bed to come hold you in my arms as look for that place in the middle of the night when it is hard to find and when you keep trying to lead me in the other direction.
Your father pulls over to the side of the road when we are driving, so that we can help you find your way there.
It is the calm in the storm. The calm inside of each of us. The calm that soothes away the anger, the sadness, the hurt, the fear.
When you rage in a tantrum, I carry you there. I do not “ignore bad behavior”. I hold you close and whisper quiet things to you until you hold me close as well so that we go find that place together.
When you cry out at night to nurse, I snuggle you in my arms and we find that place.
When you come home from school in a bad mood, I put your homework aside and ask you to take me there so that you can lead the way.
I want the path to be so deeply worn that no weeds ever have a chance to grow over it and hide the way. I want you to understand the steps that will take you there so that you can find your way there with your eyes closed in times of stress and upset. I want you to home in on it as though there is a beacon there to tug you along.
I want it to be the first place you think of when you are sad or angry. And I want you to crave that place like you crave no other. When you are not at ease in life, I want you to feel homesick for this place so that you will seek it out.
Because that place is deep inside your soul. It is called “peace”. And even though it can sometimes seem so very far away or as though it has been wiped out of existence.. It is always there when you need to find it.
This is why I don’t “let you cry it out”. This is why I don’t “put you in time out”. This is why I don’t shun you when you are struggling and having a bad time. This is why I don’t yell at you when you are yelling at me.
I don’t.. Because I’m too busy getting ready for our journey. Because I’m picking you up to carry you, because I’m reaching for your hand.
I don’t want to “put a stop to that”.
I want to help you find that place that your heart needs to know how to find. So that you will always be able to find your way there from any place in the world and from any place in your heart.