What my 6 yr old has taught me about feeling your feelings


“Mommy are you sad or happy?”

These are the words from my second born’s mouth at least a few times in a day.

He always wants to know how we are feeling. If I do say “I’m sad Irvan”, he will immediately do something to cheer me up. Give me a hug with “it’s okay mama, it’ll be fine” or he’ll make me a card.

One day I had to sit him on my lap and tell him that “sometimes we are happy and sometimes we are sad and it’s okay to be both but know that even when mama is sad, it’s never ever because of you, okay?”

I thought that would stop his consistent checking in on our feelings but it didn’t. 

Next day at breakfast he said it again “Mommy are you happy or sad?”

This is my child.

We can’t show him any movie or a cartoon where an animal gets hurt or worse, dies. It takes hours for him to calm down. 

He has always been the one in touch with all his emotions, fully and completely.  And, he has never held himself back from expressing any of it. 

When he was a baby, I could not do anything to make him stop crying. This was new to me. With my older one, coaxing worked, redirecting his attention worked, distracting him with a toy worked – – but not Irvan. 

Irvan screamed his lungs out and the only thing I did for him was allow him the space to cry. To feel. We’d alternate between hugging and me watching  him curled up on the bed and writhing his little body as he cried. 

After what seemed like an eternity and sometimes it really was a long time, he’d stop, pick up his toy car and start playing as if nothing had happened. 

This little boy taught me the Art of Allowing.

Allowing myself to feel all of it. The anger, the sadness, the guilt, the shame, the disappointment, the hurt – – and everything in between.

Today he turns 6. 

3 days ago he told us exactly what he wanted on his B’day (balloons, lunch at an Ethiopian restaurant, trip to arcade, mommy decides the B’day cake)












After he got back from the arcade, I asked him “Irvan are you happy or sad?”

He closed his eyes as if in trance (taking a moment to check in with his body) and replied “Oh mommy, I’m so so happy!”

May you too have the courage to ask for what you want from this world and have the grace to allow yourself every single emotion. 

From what I can see, it’s a pretty good life!


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