Tuesday, January 7, 2014.  Perhaps it is because of the years I have spent studying my abusive, mentally ill (Borderline Personality Disorder with psychosis) mother’s writings as I worked to sort, organize, transcribe and prepare them for publication that I so strongly believe in the importance of being able to experience the fullest range of human emotions without having to cut them apart to deny some,  to split some off and project them, to bury (“stuff”) some, repress, twist….  Well, the possibilities are many in the ways humans can limit their emotional existence and deny other people the right to express theirs.

Life is complex and I see no reason to believe that the range and intensity of emotions we experience would not directly reflect the life we are living.  Same with the commentary we might wish to express about our experience.  Life is not a “one thing.”  We do not necessarily feel one way at any given point in our ongoing life if we pay attention and notice as we move along with it.

I notice that my 17 month old grandson always wakes from his morning nap full of joy and good cheer and wakes from his afternoon nap often with the opposite emotions.  A pitiful little weeping lost boy often greets me as I hear the first signs of his afternoon waking.  Big sorrow-filled sobs then erupt not long afterwards.

His mommy told me he is “practicing” the full range of his emotions as he is growing his body and self (nervous systems and brain included).  I think she is right.  I am there for the little guy in the whole range of his emotions, often sitting with my arms wrapped tightly around him as he buries his little face under my chin while I rock him especially in the afternoons — for as long as it takes for him to move on in his experience of life into a more freeing set of emotions.

Nothing in particular seems to trigger the afternoon blues for this little one.  He IS practicing!  For all the complex reactions I have to living again in this northern, flat, frigid city of a place (my daughters needing to know how happy I am to be here with them and NOTHING else “to the negative”), holding this little boy is the clearest I can probably ever feel in my life — being anywhere doing anything — that I AM in the right place at the right time doing the right thing.

My extensive emotional reactions to all the rest of my life simply wait for me and do not visit me as I smooth the way for this new little human to live his life with all his emotions for the rest of his life.  I think life is a poignant affair.  It is rich and varied and asks of us the courtesy of replying back to it with all we’ve got.  To watch such a happy child as this little guy is “practice” his expression of sorrow with his entire body and soul is humbling and fills me with awe at the same time it gives me a great sense of honor to be here to share it with him.  

I do not believe that any daycare center can do this for a little child.  There is no time for it.


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  1. And let me add: I am so glad to see you posting on “Stop The Storm” again! I know you don’t have the time you used to have to write, but each of your recent posts about how you’re adapting to your new environment is just as important as all the tons of research you’ve done and posted about (you’ve already done enough research for about 20 people!)…another way to put it is: you’re doing a different sort of research now, equally important…IMHO.

    • Hello dear friend and such a treat to find your warm words here to greet me! I have been concerned lately that I have lost my enthusiasm for writing but after completing this post it struck me it is just fine if I find my way back to book writing from this point the same way I did the first time around — through posting here.

      I knew you would most profoundly understand this post. Such an experience for me to “do the holding.” I do not need to “make him happy” or change his mood or guide him in any way. Love. Just be here – and love.

      Who of this blog’s readers ever had that experience when young? Not you, not I, not many who pass these pages. Yet our capacity to give and receive love has not been challenged by our trauma and deprivation. It just seems that everything gets/is so complicated with adults it is hard to grasp that love is just as simple for all of us as it is for this little boy.

      Thank you, Sandy, as always for all the gifts you share! I hope to make it over to the parenting site you mentioned – soon!! Take care of YOU!! xo

  2. Dear Linda,
    What a beautiful, evocative piece of writing! It feels like you’ve captured the essence of what’s going on with that little guy. He’s definitely blessed to have you there to give him the personal attention he needs for his ‘practicing…’

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