You make me feel …


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You make me feel (fill in the blank)!”

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We have a weekend of grandchildren.  Mum and dad are celebrating a decade birthday.  One of those surprise night’s away.  Indulgent.  Romantic (we hope).  Tightening the ties of love (we hope).

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Yesterday at bath-time little Ella went ballistic with me.  Fifteen months old.  The one young lady in a sea of young boys.  She has a voice and she is heard!  Boy is she heard!

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Ella doesn’t like her hair being washed.  Which is no reason at all not to wash her hair.

So she went ballistic.  The taut body, the wriggling, the throwing herself around – the fight and flight mode all in one.  And the noise!  Mrs Paul downstairs got to hear every agonised second.  And once washed, rinsed and the water dried from her face – still that noise!  Still the anger and rage (?) – still distraught – very pink in the face and very put-out!

So I dropped an empty plastic cup in the water.  Plop!  Just in front of her.  Silence.  Normal smiles returned.  Business as usual.  She has a voice and she is heard.

But what exactly is she saying?

I think this –

NOT that I made her angry. NOT that I hurt her. NOT that she hates me. NOT that she doesn’t trust me. NOT that I make her feel unsafe. NOT any of those things we mature and sophisticated grown-ups lay on each other.

I think this (if she could) –

“I was tired.  Knackered!  Cream-crackered!  I can’t cope when I am that tired.  So I was happy splashing in the nice warm bath.  Then I wasn’t.  And then I was.” 

I know she didn’t lay all that stuff we big guys lay on each other.  Because she was happy to play, to use her noise-speak as usual for stuff she wants, happy to come and wrap herself around my knees for (another) cuddle (soon after bath-time).

I see so much hurt in the world – so much anger – so much blame: “You make me feel (fill in the blank)!”   And almost always a “bad thing”.

The blame-game we insist is about you not me.

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“How many time must I forgive … ?”

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I think misses the point.

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“How many times should I NOT blame another for making me feel (fill in the blank)?”

Doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.  Is not something a child would ask either.

Just as a child doesn’t ask how many times they ought to forgive.

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They just do.

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6 thoughts on “You make me feel …

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