Not a cute cartoon or any gorgeous picture with profound words on it, but I was talking to Katie this morning. She was upset and crying over something so trivial that it really didn't deserve the drama she was weaving into it. I was patient - to a point - but then I had to tell her to call me back when she wasn't crying so I could understand her. Don't get me wrong, I fully understand that things which don't seem important to grownups are huge in a child's mind and we need to remember that, but honestly! Sometimes they also need to know that problems are better solved than cried over.
Afterwards I thought of the perfect thing I should have said to her. It was something Ma told my then 8 year old daughter Tam during a similar situation. This is how it went.
Ma: How many eyes to do you need, Tammy?
Ma: And how many do you have?
Ma: The same for ears. How many do you need and how many do you have?
Tam (now distracted and calming down) : Two <sniffle, sniffle>
Ma: Do you have the right number of things in your body for what you need? One mouth, one nose, one heart?
Ma: Funny how smart God is. He gave you just the right number of everything you need. Even tears. He gave you just the right number of them for your lifetime, but when you use them for things that don't really need them, you waste them. So eventually, just when you really need the tears, you'll find you don't have them. Do you know what that means?
Tam (who by now was looking at Ma with eyes wide open) I don't know, Gramma. What happens?
Ma: Well, it means that you have been so busy wasting tears that won't change anything that you become sort of vaccinated against truly feeling things deeply. You won't be able to find tears for deep sadness, for pure joy, or just laughing so hard that your tears want to join in. Wouldn't that be an empty feeling?
I don't remember the rest of the conversation - just that it ended with Tammy calming down and being able to re-examine her crisis and solve it over a cup of hot tea with Gramma. I do remember that at that moment I used a few of the tears the Good Lord gave me for just such moments. I watched my beloved Ma and my sweet daughter sitting together at the kitchen table holding hands and drinking tea. And I know just what I'm going to say if this ever pops up again.