Empathy realized

What fun it is to watch your child grow and develop. There are the usual milestones – first smile, first word, first step. But these pale in comparison for me than the real milestones – development of self-awareness and empathy towards others.

Morgan is right on the brink of it. A few months ago, one of the teachers at daycare were telling me that a new girl in Morgan’s class was having trouble adjusting. This basically translates to having a toddler sit on the floor and cry because they aren’t used to being away from their parents. It happens frequently, and is tough to see a kid go through. Eventually they assimilate, but that first week can be tough.

Morgan apparently had trouble watching it too, as she sat next to the little girl, rubbed her back, and said “Don’t be sad. Be happy. Your mama will come back.”

Touching, I know. It’s heartwarming to hear those stories. However, it’s far more heartwarming to actually witness it. She’s been pouring it on. If I’m more quiet than usual or stressed out, she senses it. “Don’t be sad, mama. I make you happy. Let me rub your back.” This sweet little 2-year-old makes me sit forward, and gently rubs my back until she’s sure I feel better.

She not only has empathy, but has learned the value of her emotions. How being silly lifts everyone’s moods. How being sad and throwing temper tantrums makes everyone tired. You can see it in her face. After a temper tantrum she’s not only looking for comfort and love, but for rest and relaxation. “Cuddles and snuggles” she calls it. And cuddles and snuggles she gets.

There’s nothing better after a long, stressful week to have her say “Mama, do I make you happy?” I know on the other side of that question is a hug, cuddle, kiss, or back rub to seal the deal.

And while I know this stage may not last forever, I’m going to relish in it while it does.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Empathy realized

  1. This is so special! May be one of my favorite stories!

  2. Thanks, Janelle! They are special kids. This is a moment I hope will stay etched in my heart forever : )

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