Sunday, February 12, 2006

The picture of empathy

We have long been aware of Kyra's sensitivity. From the time she was a young toddler, she immediately zeroed in on the child in the room who was crying or somehow distraught and would stare with wide eyes until the situation was appropriately resolved. When she developed words, endless questions would accompany the stares--"Why is she crying? Why is she sad? What is going to make her not feel sad any more?" and so on. But more on this in a moment....

Tonight was a rocky bedtime--Lucas is still a bit distraught after last night's traumatic night, and Kyra is needier than ever. After she and I clashed for a time over how long I needed to stay in her room to get her comfortably settled, Matt had to go up to smooth the rough waters. She was seemingly quiet (asleep? nah, couldn't be!), but I realized when I was climbing the stairs to begin the night of Lucas visitation hours that Kyra was crying as well. I went in to calm her and, through hiccups and tears, she said something (I thought) about "Miss Shannon." There are two Miss Shannons affiliated with the kids' day care. One is the director and one has returned to school and is on-site only occasionally. I thought somehow she was upset about the latter Miss Shannon not being around often, but this seemed out of context from anything that happened today. Because I couldn't assure or soothe her without truly understanding what she was saying, I asked her a few times to try to quiet her tears long enough to repeat her feelings to me. Eventually I heard, "I'm sad because Shannon isn't going back to the Super Bowl." Translation--"I'm sad because Michelle Kwan isn't going back to the Olympics." So, together we said a prayer for Michelle, thanking God for giving her all these good years of skating and encouraging Emily to do her best in Michelle's place. The prompt for these tears? A five minute glimpse of Michelle Kwan's press conference relating her disappointing decision to withdraw from the games. It stayed with my girl the entire day. Now that is a child with a wide open heart.

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