Life’s Lessons Learned

Today we said a sad goodbye to our PhilandTed’s E3 double stroller. The red beauty came into our life two years ago when DS got too big to sling and I hadn’t discovered the joys of the Ergo yet. It was a wonderful product – I don’t know how I would have gone out and about every day with my two kids without it. But about two months ago I was getting tired of pushing 70+ lbs of kids around with all my stuff and shopping, etc. and decided it was time to “wean” DD from the stroller. I began taking DS in the umbrella stroller and making DD walk (yes, the E3 can easily be used as a single, but DD was not about to accept that only her little brother would get to ride in it, knowing there was a “sibling seat”). She wasn’t keen about the change at first but now it’s just a given that she walks when we go out, and she can walk pretty far, too. So…it was time to sell the E3. I put it on Craigslist yesterday afternoon and it sold today to a nice couple expecting their second child in November.

Before they came by I told DD I had something sad to tell her, and I explained how we don’t need it anymore and some other family could really use it, etc. She was very upset about it. I knew she would be. DD gets attached to things and I knew how much she loved that stroller and considered it to be Hers. When the people arrived she broke down again. All I could do was hold her and feel bad that she was encountering one of Life’s hurts.

I recalled what Gordon Neufeld had to say in his book “Hold On To Your Kids“, about the need for children to move “from frustration to futility and beyond” in order to recognize that they have the ability to “accept the things they cannot change”. No matter how much we try to make our children happy, they are going to experience disappointment. Things aren’t always going to work the way they want them to, or be the way they want them to be. Neufeld convinced me that the greatest gift I can give my kids is to validate those feelings of sadness, to comfort them while they grieve, and then to be there when they come through it at the other end and move on to play and be happy again. He emphasizes how critical it is for children to learn they have this power. Kids who aren’t able to move past the initial frustration phase tend to have serious emotional issues later in life.

It was hard to see her so sad. Her sadness was so raw and so genuine. My heart hurt to see her so sad. But I also knew that she would be okay. And she was. She got through it. Nobody told her to stifle it, or tried to make her laugh when she was wanting to cry, or said that “big girls don’t cry”, or offered her some reward if she would just let it go. I’m really proud of both of us today. Me for letting her feel and just be who she was in that moment: a little girl already feeling the sadness of growing bigger and growing out of things, of saying goodbye. And her for getting through it in such an emotionally healthy way, for being able to tell me how sad she was, and why she was sad, and then for being able to move on and accept what life had just dealt her (small though it may seem to us). I often write about my failure moments as a parent, but this was one that I can be proud of.

Oh yeah, the $500 we got for it is also helping with the healing process!

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One thought on “Life’s Lessons Learned

  1. Anna B

    I don’t know if it is because she is the youngest, a girl or almost died, but DH refuses to give M any moments where she can learn to handle a little disappointment. Ugh.

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