New hair, new glasses, new thoughts on compassion

dog-with-glassesYou finally cut your hair into an adorable bob. You just woke up one day a couple weeks ago and decided to cut it all off–something that so surprised your mom and me because it’s hard for you to let go of things. And everyone told you how great it looked (except a couple of little goobers who shall remain nameless.)

I’m sure my being male has distorted my perception of this but sometimes it just feels like you need a good cry. Doesn’t really matter what it’s about…you lie in bed and your mind wanders and it goes to self-punishing places…fears, regrets and slights. And you call your mother back up or you walk down, and you weep as you tell us why you’re there.

This night you came down and cried over you hair, which to be fair is not over nothing! You said you didn’t like it. The sureness and doubtlessness you’d displayed all day had been a facade and you wept. Until finally, I suggested you go back to bed, and then wondered if I had suggested it too quickly.

You don’t call me when you need to cry. Never. And that’s because I’m no good at the crying-over-little-things-thing. (I did identify with the hair-regret and told you about how I always regret my choice of new glasses for the first 24 hours.)

I told you to go to bed because I knew soon you’d decide you like it again and we might as well just get on with that eventuality as soon as possible. And actually, it turned out to be true. You really like your hair now, and only had one day of regret.

Still…I feel like I screwed up.

One of the hardest things about living with a kid is that their sense of what’s important is so different from yours. And I’m sure, no matter what age you are right now, you know what I’m talking about. Subtract 10 years from your age and think about what you cared about and worried about then. Now ask yourself if you still think those things are important.

But the dumb-ass thing about thinking that the “importance gap” is real, however, is that right now, there’s someone in his 70’s who thinks everything I worry about is really stupid. This is because all of our worries are stupid. But does this mean we shouldn’t show any compassion?

I find it hard to remind myself sometimes to really show full compassion for something I know someone won’t care about the next day, or even in 5 or 10 years.

You got new glasses, too, and they’re funky and cute. And you’re home for the summer and happy. Very, very happy most of the time. And you’ve gotten even  more charming these days, which I didn’t think possible.

Sometimes I worry that this charming kid will grow up feeling like her dad is unsympathetic to her suffering.

On this day I told myself I would try to show more compassion, because that’s all anyone needs when they’re sad, no matter how silly the reason.

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