Yesterday when I picked up my 12 year old son from school his face was puffy and his eyes were red. I could tell he had been crying. Turns out he and his girlfriend of the last nine months had just broken up. I could see how much pain he was in and I felt so helpless. This was no skinned knee where a Spiderman Band-Aid and a kiss from mom would make everything better. I could only hold space for him as he sat with the confusion and the hurt.
At one point, he was telling me some of the details of what had happened and opening up about how crushed he felt when I flashed on a memory from about five years ago. I followed an impulse to share it with him.
It was during a particularly challenging time, when my marriage was falling apart and my entire life felt like a mess. 7 year old Aidan had wandered into my room and found me in a pile of tears. Wide eyed he asked me "Are you okay?" I assured him that I was fine, just really, really sad. He placed his little hand on my shoulder and put his face right up next to mine. "Mommy, I can tell that your heart is broken, but I want you to know that it's not broken in a bad way. It's just breaking open so that it can grow bigger." As I shared this now with the tender middle schooler sitting before me, he looked at me with one eyebrow raised. "I said that?"
I nodded. His eyes brightened and with a sly smile he said, "Wow, I'm pretty smart." He was totally fine the rest of the night. Loving that the precious wisdom from his seven year old self worked better than a Band-Aid and kiss from me ever could