I found Ezekiel laying in bed, I asked if I could come up or if some alone time was needed.
Z: "You can come up here with me."
Me: "So, what's up, Z?"
Z: "I'm just feeling really sad."
Me: "It's okay to feel sad. Sadness is an incredibly helpful tool to connect us to ourselves and let's us know that we need to take a pause."
Z: "well, do ya know what would make me feel better? Watching a show would make me feel better."
Me: *big sigh* I have to sit with myself before I calmly respond.
"Ezekiel, the tv doesn't exist to solve your problems. It is not for distraction from our sadness or unpleasant emotions. You know what does exist to help you feel better? You. You exist to navigate these feelings, you exist to sit with that feeling of sadness and work through it. And that's why I'm here too! To help you with the heavy, hard emotions. We can talk if you ever need, I'm here. And when you feel better, when you have felt and released and sat and cried and taken a breath, you can watch all the tv you want."
Z: "okay mom, I can do that, I need a hug."
This exchange is a big deal. I am not willing to do whatever it takes to stop Ezekiel from being sad. I am willing to do what it takes to navigate emotions. Vices don't exist to heal us, only we can do that. When using vices, we get by, but we don't get well. We shift addiction, we hope our problems pass us by, and time does, but we remain sick. And sad. And stuck.
And I'm so sorry for when your parents couldn't, I'm so sorry for when they didn't. But it's up to us now, to get well. To be authentically well and connect to our children to keep them well. Not MAKE them well, because children are born well. But to show them emotional health, walk with them when it's hard, heal our own trauma. It's up to us now.