I was woken up early this morning.
5:38am to be exact, which
is an hour where I am often far from
pleasant—but when it’s your 5 year old at the side of your bed asking if you
could come to her room for a minute, you muster up some gusto and go.
I know what a can you come to my room
request usually means. It’s my girl’s way of letting me know she’s had a bad
dream and wants to tell me about it.
And so I go. Every time.
As a kid crossing
the threshold of my parents’ bedroom door was an event that would take a pretty
significant night time crisis—and I am sure I navigated many a scary dream on
my own, deciding that it wasn’t worth the courage it’d take to ask for comfort.
So with my two kids we have been intentional about making sure they know we are
available. Even at 5:38am.
As we walked across the hall into her room my daughter told me about her dream.
“Mom, I had a dream that my teacher said I had to go home and couldn’t come to school anymore.” Woah. For my little keener who absolutely loves school—this sounded devastating. I crawled into bed with her and wrapped her up in a big snuggle. She was stuffy and her little body was racked with giant sobs, and she sputtered out a bit more of her nightmare…”He said I was great, but not great enough.”
Cue: Mom. Heart. Sink.
She cried harder after she spit out those words and clung tightly to the arm that was wrapped around her chest. It is heartbreaking to see my small person
fight shame in her dreams. “You don’t get to pick your dreams, right mom?” she asked.
But her dream spoke of things that we all experience. Things I see daily at
work. Emotions that we navigate on a regular basis. Feeling not enough. Feeling rejected. Feeling left out and excluded. Everything in me would love to buffer her from these experiences, would love for her to never question her worthiness. But even in her dreams she is wondering, am I enough?
These are things she is going to need to know how to navigate, because they aren’t going
We were up together for quite a while, and apparently talking
loudly enough that my husband had to come and close her door so we didn’t wake
up her brother too. As we snuggled and made sense of her awful dream I named rejection—and talked about how it
doesn’t feel good, not for kids and not for grown ups. She talked about how her
BFF sometimes says, “I don’t want to be
your friend anymore”, and how that feels awful too—and my girl was able to
say that it’s probably that she’s just
mad and doesn’t know how to say it.
I assured her that grown ups do this
too, and some may say, “I want a divorce”
when they really mean, “You hurt me
and I’m devastated.”
As we chatted I realized the profundity of these conversations.
We spoke of worthiness, enoughness, and how I would march into the principal’s office and
let her know if a teacher ever said anything even a little bit like that.
We talked about a family member with special
needs and how he is totally enough even though he doesn’t do a thing. And how
he would be enough even if he were an adult who needed help with every life
And I continued to affirm to my sweet girl that enoughness has nothing to do with what we do or produce or can achieve,
but that it has everything to do with who
we are. I fundamentally believe people matter because they are, not because they do.
Even if she was the worst at math, or the slowest
runner, or got left out, or when I fail
at completing small tasks on my to-do list, or burn something on the barbecue
(again), none of these things have anything to do with our enoughness in the
And I told her she’ll probably forget from time to time. That she might
question her enoughness when her feelings get hurt, or if she doesn’t make the
team, or is excluded from a party. And I told her that if she ever forgets if she’s enough, that I will always be there to
remind her of her enoughness in the world.
It’s rare that a 5:38am wake up would be something I am grateful for, but
today, I am.
As I heard her recount her dream to her brother before school it
was just as heartbreaking to hear the second time around, but this time there
weren’t tears—just her telling her brother how mom would make sure a teacher
who did that got in trouble for being so rude.
Oh, that she would know she is enough.
Oh, that we would know we are
enough. Not because of what we do, but because the space we occupy in the world
That we are significant simply because we are.