At first our days consisted of equal parts giggles and tears, with chaos on legs running through the house. I remember the first time we as a family went through the whole day without anyone (myself included!) shedding a tear. It was fantastic. The next day, I think everyone cried. So many times I wanted to roll my eyes and give my children a lesson on what they could be crying about, but would pull them close and hug them through it and send them back into the fray.
Over time though, the tears became less frequent, with a little one coming to me with a legitimate skinned knee or hurt feelings from a sibling. I would be tempted to minimize the pain and explain how to avoid being hurt in the future, but I pulled them close and listened intently and sent them back into the fray.
These days the tears are fewer and farther between, but no less strongly felt. The hurts are bigger and sometimes I want to step in front of them and protect each of them from ever feeling serious pain, but I always try to pull them close and earnestly pray for God’s best and send them back into the fray.
Our job as parents isn’t to shield them, as much as we want to, but to encourage and strengthen them and keep sending them out into this confusing/hard/crazy/glorious fray we call life.