So, you know how when you have a bruise you can't help but press it from time to time to find out if it still hurts? That was the agenda item for Sarah today. She unearthed some toys that had been intended for Jane, one of which is a teddy bear that plays a woman singing "Rock-a-bye Baby" when you press its chest (WORST TOY EVER, by the way -- I mean, how can you help but press the chest if you're playing with it? And it's LOUD. And there's no off button. AND there's no access in the toy so you can remove its voice box, which means I will have to perform surgery on the damn thing if Sarah insists on keeping it)... whoa, parenthetical digression. What was I saying?
Oh, right. So, Sarah discovers the most maudlin toy on the face of the planet in the back of the closet and it starts playing Rock-a-bye and cue weeping ("It made me think of Jane!"). But she kept on playing it. And kept on weeping. Repeat at bedtime.
And here's where I'm the worst parent on the planet. I was annoyed. Well, I'm not inhuman, I was really concerned initially. But the longer it went on, and the longer she insisted on playing the damn thing, and the more dramatic the crying became, the harder it was for me to take her grief at face value. She was very deliberately pressing her bruises.
Now, I understand she needed the outlet. Hell, I've been known to do it myself. So I let her cry, I told her the things that I thought she needed to hear (that it's good to let out your emotions; that it's okay to be sad about Jane; that there are things about Jane to be happy about, too; that having a good long cry can make you feel better, etc) but damn, people. She kept intentionally forcing herself to cry. It no longer seemed to be about Jane, but she was using her name as the catalyst. And that pissed me off. I didn't yell at her, but I was definitely getting short with her. Which is awesome, right? "Here, kid, tell me what's bothering you and I will get pissy because you're being four with your emotions."
Ugh. I suck.
But then at bedtime, after a replay of the naptime events, she started talking about how much she dreams about Jane (and Audrey the dog) and how those dreams are special, and that she was going to have a special dream tonight and keep it inside her head just for Jane and not tell anyone about it so it will always be there. And THEN she said, as I was finally about to be able to leave the room, "Good night, my sweet butterfly from Jane." Holy guilt. Guilt guilt guilty guilt guilt.
I'm not worried about Sarah, for the most part. She's a really even-keeled kid, and she's been handling everything well. This is only the second or possibly the third time she's really gotten overwhelmingly emotional in the last six months; usually, she cries a little, but recovers pretty quickly. Wait; should I be worried about that? That's she's not crying enough? How do you know?
Tomorrow will be another day. With luck, she'll have moved on to a new area of fascination, although I will never be able to get rid of the Mawkish Mayor of Tearville (Sarah forgets nothing; that damn bear will be with us for years). And I will carry my guilt with me, diligently pressing that bruise until it fades.