Last night my son lost his stuffed tiger. We talked and talked about all the places he'd taken him and he was nowhere to be found. It took him over 3 hours to fall asleep and he was inconsolable.
My heart ached as I listened to him talk and cry about tiger, not understanding why I couldn't fix the problem. I wanted to fix it so bad, but I just couldn't. I looked everywhere. We texted grandma to see if tiger was there, but she looked all over and tiger was no where to be found. I couldn't help him and I couldn't comfort him. We were both weary and tired and no closer to finding tiger.
At this time in their lives, there's not much I can't fix. Most of the things they lose are lost in plain sight. Most of their needs are basic: thirst, hunger, boredom, etc. Those things I can troubleshoot. But these other things, like emotions and broken hearts are more tricky.
I've never been someone who knew the right thing to say at the right time in any given situation. I don't know why I envisioned that I would somehow get the "always say the right thing" gene when I became a mom. Turns out that it's not an automatic transformation. Damn.
Losing tiger was just a glimpse into the future. To those times when they are learning something new that just won't click. To when they are rejected by their peers. To when they experience emotions bigger than they understand. These are things we cannot fix. All we can do is sit by their side and empathize and pray that we can be the source of comfort they need in the moment.
NOTE: we did find tiger this morning. I asked his sister when she woke up and she knew EXACTLY where he was. Turns out she was the one who probably hid him and somehow she turned out to be the hero. Kids these days.