We experienced a few moments of panic yesterday afternoon when Bailey emerged from her room attempting to cry but unable to get out a sound. I instantly stopped what I was doing in the kitchen and ran over to her. My mind was collecting data as I attempted to figure out what was going on. She mouthed the words, "I can't breathe" as she clutched the right part of her chest. I am usually able to snap into crisis management mode fairly quickly when my instincts tell me that something is truly wrong, but for some reason I was not able to stay composed in this moment. There was something about the look of fear in Bailey's eyes that triggered my reaction. Luckily, Brian was able to maintain calm enough to instruct Bailey to raise her arms into the air and to calm down. At that same moment I realized that Faith had followed Bailey out of the room so I looked at her and demanded to know what had happened. She looked up at me rather frightened herself and told me that she had kicked Bailey in the chest but that she didn't know she would hurt her that bad. I was enraged. I caught myself yelling at her with a mixture of disbelief and disappointment in my tone, "You KICKED her???"
Filled with shame for what she had done she ran into her room, laid in her bed on her stomach and hid her head under her arm. I knew instantly that my reaction had shamed her even further and I knew I would need to contend with what had just happened. At that point, Brian had calmed Bailey down enough to get her to breathe in slowly and methodically. It was her first time experiencing having the wind literally knocked out of her. I was immensely relieved that we weren't dealing with any number of things that could have been more serious than that. Once I knew she was fine I sought after Faith. All I could do was crawl into bed with her and hold her. I whispered into her ear that I was sorry I freaked her out and that I was just scared. She continued to sob as I tried to cover her with my love and understanding. Again I spoke to her, "It feels really bad when we realize that we've done something wrong...doesn't it baby?" She looked up at me and nodded her head in agreement. I continued to lay there with her for a long period of time, just holding her and feeling those places of shame that I know so well in my own heart.
It was a moment I'll remember for a long time to come. I wanted to take away her shame, but I knew I didn't have the power to do that. It was there not just because of the single act of kicking her sister, but because at the core of each one of us lies rebellion. It is a rebellion that we can't always hide or control...or cover up with "being good". It always remains. It is a part of being human in a fallen world.
It's ironic that all of this happened with my oldest daughter just prior to an experience where my own shame was painfully exposed. This morning I am the one lying in my bed on my stomach hiding my head under my arm and I'm longing for someone to come and hold me. I need someone else who knows this place of shame within herself to come and cry with me. I don't think it’s possible to bear it alone.