These were the words said to me on Saturday night by my eleven year old, tears running down her face.
I don't think any of us would wish to be pre-teens or teenagers again, would we: all those spots, hormones and weird things happening to our bodies and minds?
Fortunately this time I didn't have to say "It's just your hormones darling. I know it's a pain, but put up with it and eventually, I promise, it will get better."
This time I could use a much more logical argument.
"Just think about it. Yesterday you walked a fifteen mile sponsored walk in the rain. Then you went to the church youth club. Today we got up early, picked pound and pounds of apples, blackberries and sloes, and this afternoon we spent cutting up apples and crushing and juicing them, and you cut your finger so badly that only the fact we had four trained nurses on hand stopped us taking you to A&E. That was pretty traumatic. On top of that, you children ran off another couple of miles (in the rain) and brought back a few more pounds of apples to chop, crush and juice. You were so tired you couldn't eat any supper. Don't you think that, just maybe, your energy tank is running on empty? You feel miserable and tearful because you're desperately tired and need sleep."
"Oh, I hadn't thought of that." She said and flopped back onto her pillow. When I checked ten minutes later she was fast asleep.
It occurred to me that often we can feel down and miserable and beat ourselves up for these feelings when, actually, they are entirely related to the physical. If we have been working very hard, going without sleep, pushing ourselves beyond what is reasonable, then one of the ways our bodies let us know we've had enough is by signalling through our feelings. So instead of just screaming "Why?" at the universe (which rarely gets a constructive answer), why don't we just check to ensure that we're not, in the words of one rather precocious four year old I encountered, "Fizzily and 'motionally 'zausted!"
Sometimes we just need to cut ourselves some slack, and be as kind to ourselves as we would be to others in our situation.