Hank: (pacing about in the hallway, nervous, frustrated)
Me: (in bed, lights off, resting, my RA/AS pain on a sliding scale from one-ten: one being a paper cut with lemon juice and ten being slowly mauled to death by bears I am a five: mild car accident involving whiplash and collarbone contusions)
Hank: (obviously wanting to talk to me, but knowing I am unwell is hovering)
Hank: Yes, my mama? Can I get you anything?
Me: Can you come here? Sit here with me and tell me what is on your mind. You’re thinking rather loudly.
Hank: I’m sorry, mama. It’s just I don’t know what to do. I am a little upset because papa says he has to drive me to my new school because it is too far to walk and now he is upset that he has to get up even earlier in the morning because my school starts at 8:30am so I need to be at school by 8:25am and Molly doesn’t even go to her Ama (nanny) until 9am but her Ama’s (nanny’s) house is right across the street from my new school so now I can’t walk to school and I’m ruining everything and I am a bit upset because I was really looking forward to my independence.
Me: Be calm, don’t panic and don’t forget your towel.
Me: Trust me, this is important advice. First, your papa’s stress has nothing to do with you. You cannot take on another person’s stress. Stop that habit right now. Taking on someone else’s worries and fears it is the worst thing you can do for yourself. If you stay calm you can help the stressed person, but if you too decide to also be stressed then you take on all their toxic worry and are in equally bad shape. I love you papa, but he thrives in stressful situations you don’t.
Hank: (deep breath)
Me: I don’t agree with your papa that your new school is much farther than your old school. They’re different directions, but not very difference distances. I bet you have a handy app were we can figure out who is correct quickly and accurately.
Hank: Oh yah, I can look on Google maps!
Me: Wonderful. We can examine the route and see if your father’s hypothesis is correct or if mine is correct.
Hank: Great idea, mama.
Me: I am incredibly smart.
Hank: (digging his phone out of his pocket, pushing buttons)
Me: (resting my eyes for a second)
Hank: Mama, you’re right! My old school trip is just five minutes shorter than my new school trip.
Me: Now this is a wonderful argument to take to your papa who is convinced that the walk to your new school will be impossible for you.
Hank: It’s just a few minutes more. I will have to leave with plenty of time and way earlier than papa and Molly, but I am not worried and I know some of my friends will be walking from here as well.
Me: And tomorrow we can research the bus route. I bet there is a bus that will get you very nearly to your school that you can take on rainy days.
Hank: My friend Clara takes the bus everyday.
Me: Then most probably she will be on the bus you’d catch and you can sit together. The best way to help a person suffering from stress is to have options.
Hank: I want to know about the bus, but can I tell my papa about this now?
Me: Of course, but be sure to phrase it in a helpful and calm tone. Your objective is to win this difference of opinion not frantically add more stress to your papa’s evening.
Hank: I understand. You rest mama.
Me: I will. Thank you for coming to me to discuss your dilemma. I am happy we could problem solve together.
Hank: (bounding out of the room, showing his findings to his papa, winning the walking to school debate and celebrating with a triangle of Toblerone)