As our trip to Manila draws near, Rama has been wavering between happiness (seeing loved ones back home) and sadness (leaving her Papi behind, if only for a few days before he follows to Manila.) "I'll miss Papi" is a constant, pained refrain.
Last night, this missing Papi turned into a full-on, lengthy crying jag. I tried many tacks.
"You really have to rest. Enough na. Try counting sheep." Lame.
"Think happy thoughts..." Easier said than done.
The rational argument: "Kaya tayo magka-iba ng plane, ganito. Pag nag-crash ang plane, and I die and you live, Papi can still take care of you. A lot of parents do that, they don't travel on the same plane"
"I wish the plane won't crash. But I'm still sad."
Then I tried something that my mom used on us a lot when we were kids. Some kind of amateur pranic healing. Whenever you're hurting, she would speak in a soothing voice, while her hand just hovers around the painful part, and she would make this elaborate gesture of gathering and "throwing away" the pain. I tried it on Rama, like I was drawing the pain away from her chest and hurling it away.
Rama, wailing: But the sadness is in my brain!!!
And more and more, she was getting frustrated at herself about not being able to stop the crying.
Then I dished out some zen.
Me: Rama, you should really pay attention to what's in front of you. Right here, right now. So many things to be happy about - warm bed, new friend (a new Pooh stuffed doll, an early christmas present), your mom who loves you very much. Try not to focus on those sad thoughts, because right this moment, where you are, there's so much to feel glad about.
Rama seemed to take that in. She stopped crying! EIther she just got really tired by then, or felt guilty for forgetting that I was there, or the message sank in. I would think it's the latter, because after that lecturette, when we were spooning and she was on her side facing the window, she quoted me back:
Rama: The window is in front of me. Haha.
She was calm and light by then and able to sleep.