I learned a lesson last night. Way after bedtime, one of our kids came out saying “I don’t know why, but I don’t feel well”. Now 90% of the time, I would just usher the kid back to bed, but something about her phrasing made me pause.

We went to her room and after the perfunctory checking of her temperature and making sure she was hydrated and didn’t need the bathroom, I asked her if anything was on her mind.

No, she said.

I looked at her favourate stuffed toy and asked, “How about Nightsky, does she have anything on her mind?”

Turns out, Nightsky did have a lot on her mind. Soon our kid was opening up to me about some very big feelings and important thoughts she had that were troubling her. We ended up spending lots more time together where I listened to her worries and did my best to validate and reassure her. Sometimes, all I could do was offer a cuddle but I think it helped.

Like most parents, I have many days where my patience is thin and where I struggle to be a compassionate parent, particular when it is way past their bedtime and approaching my own.

But sometimes, like last night, I get it pretty right.

Thanks, Nightsky.