Name that feeling.

"When the student is ready, the teacher will appear." - Buddha

"I have no more love in my heart." - Colbie Costa

"Feeling?  What feeling?" - Grandma Bean

The other day, my Grand-Bean Colbie was upset about something that happened that she thought was very unfair.  When her Mom went to talk to her about it, she said to her Mom, "I have no more love in my heart."  Dramatic, perhaps, but so impressive that this tiny little girl could tell you exactly what she was feeling.  I have felt no love in my heart many times in my life, but I didn't have a name to put on it.  It got me to thinking that even 4-year olds have something to teach me about "Naming that Feeling." I do think women of my generation tend to have more difficulty identifying our emotions.  We were raised in a more "Stiff Upper Lip, Never Let Them See You Sweat" kind of way.  Most families of my generation didn't talk about our family issues, under the assumption that if you don't acknowledge the problems, they don't really exist.  Or maybe we just didn't have the words to identify the problem in the same way children do today. Later I went into a profession where a stiff upper lip was essentially required.  You could not fall apart in front of people who were injured or gravely ill.  In those days there were no Post-Traumatic just sucked it up, and then swallowed Valium until you were comatose.  This was obviously not a perfect system.  As a 19 year old student nurse, with no life experience, I did my rotation in Labor and Delivery.  One night a seasoned maternity nurse came into the room where I was working, carrying a package, which she handed to me.  What she had given to me with no explanation, I quickly realized, was a small stillborn baby.  As I stood there, trying to process this, she told me, without emotion, to go weigh the tiny tyke.....apparently something that was required for medical records. That was the first of countless times over the years that I swallowed down my emotions and like Nike says" just did it".


When I was working in Emergency, we had a little chart at the triage desk that we used to help children identify their level of pain....from a neutral face to a smiley face to a crying face; it showed the gamut of emotions.  I realized that all my life I needed a version of this chart in my head because sometimes it took me days or weeks to figure out what I was feeling.

Recently, I found out on Facebook that there had been a surprise birthday party for a close family member, to which everyone, except me, had been invited.  I consulted the little chart in my head and it still took me one week to establish that what I was feeling was HURT.  Hurt feelings!!!  What a concept.  This in spite of the fact that everyone I told this story to said the same thing: "You must have been really hurt!" 

I've written before that I believe that everyone in our lives has something to teach us.  For me, those "Everyone's" happen to be the children in my life.  Cailin has taught me to be brave....and now Colbie has taught me how to put a name to the face.  Maybe I can soon get rid of that chart in my head.  Today, though, I know for sure that I have a TON of love in my heart.  Thank you Baby Girl!


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