My eldest, like most kids around Australia, returned back to school this week. One afternoon she came home and was a little upset, “I had no one to play with today.”
I could hear the rip as my heart tore open and broke into two. I could feel it too.
I didn’t want to be dismissive, but I also didn’t want to play into it either. Friendship groups change with classes, and it usually doesn’t take long for everyone to find their new groove.
I sent her off the next day with a little pep talk, “Of all the girls in the world, you’re the best at making friends. Wherever we go, you make friends so easily. You know that. So, don’t wait for people to come to you… go to them. You don’t need to ask permission, just play. I can’t wait to hear about your adventures today.”
And that was that.
I didn’t stop thinking about it all day. I talked about it over lunch with Hubby too, who told me that I was overthinking it and that it would sort itself out.
I knew that. I know that.
A friend told me about a year ago, “It’s not our job to make our kids happy.”
I can’t stop thinking about those words either. Is it my job to make my kids happy? Isn’t it?
I’ve always thought it was my job, as the mother of my kids, to make them happy. I have one child that is always happy, except for the very small moments when she’s hungry or tired, but other than that… she’s content. I have another child who needs a little more work. It took me a while, but I realised that’s just who she is. She’s wild, and colourful, and diverse and multi-layered. I learned that I can not make her happy. Only she can do that.
I remember being in Disneyland last year, the happiest place on earth if you didn’t know already, and a tantrum happened. I can’t remember what it was over, maybe ice cream… but it ended with, “THIS IS THE WORST DAY EVER!”
I laughed, because we were at DISNEYLAND. Worst day ever? She didn’t know worst day ever. I threw my hands up in the air and thought to myself, “I can not make this kid happy!”
And I was right, my friend was right too. It’s not my job to make my kids happy. It’s my job to make sure they’re healthy and safe, and growing beautifully. I can only arm them with the tools to go out and face the world and make their own happiness.
And to overcome battles, like having no one to play with at lunchtime.
What do you think? Is it our job to make our kids happy?