Perhaps you’ve seen a boy or girl recently with a tiny heart drawn on his or her wrist. If you have, you should know that this isn’t simply the act of a bored child who has taken to doodling to pass the time. Here is what it really means.
After drawing a small heart on her son’s wrist before school one morning, a mother named Liz Petrone took to Facebook to share the story of how much this seemingly trivial act helped the young boy get through the day.
“The anxiety has been strong with the littlest lately,” Liz confessed. “I don’t know why. Maybe it’s the way the seasons shift, a little at a time so slowly until it’s not slow at all anymore and it’s become cold so fast that you swear you inhaled the warm air of early fall and you exhaled in a foggy smoke of breath into the holidays,” she continued.
“Or maybe it’s just that he’s been asking me every single morning since he started school in September: ‘Mommy, is today Christmas?’ and forever I’d just laugh and say oh no baby, we have a ways to go, except now that’s not so true anymore and the anticipation is so much I think he might spontaneously combust,” she added.
“Anyway I watched him start to cry through the bus window as they pulled away the other morning, his face changing at first imperceptible like the seasons and then crumpling into a big rush of sloppy tears, and the bus was mostly gone before I could do anything,” Liz went on.
“And yet still I tried, standing out in the middle of the road with my hands reaching towards him even as the big yellow box rounded the corner and drifted from sight,” she wrote. “The next morning we sat at the bus stop together and I pulled a pen from my coat pocket. I grabbed his wrist, kissed the blue of his veins where the blood we share flows through his veins, and drew this heart.”
“‘I know it’s hard sometimes out there,’ I told him as the bus pulled up to take him away. ‘I want you to look at this heart every time it feels like too much. I want you to look, and I want you to remember that no matter what happens out there someone is here waiting for you to come home. Someone loves you,'” Liz explained.
“He crossed the road, climbed the bus steps, and I watched this time as his face appeared in the window,” she went on. “I waited for him to see me, to smile or wave or even to cry, but he never even looked at me. Instead, he looked at his wrist,” she recalled.
“I know it’s hard out there a lot of the time for a lot of us. I know the holidays can amplify that and so can the cold and so can the dark. I do,” wrote Liz. “But maybe what we all need to remember is just that simple. Maybe it’s not a fix, not by a long shot, but it’s a comfort just the same, and comfort can go a long way when you know someone loves you,” she concluded.
Liz’s story has resonated with many others who have experienced an increase in anxiety this time of year. One mother even shared that she has a similar habit. “Every morning I put a heart on both of my kids [sic] wrists, kiss the hearts a bunch of time to fill it up & they know if at any time during the day they need me they just kiss their heart,” commented Facebook user Shannon Roddy. “I got one permanently to always remember this time in our lives!” she added.
Another mother named Sarah Abbott had a similar story. “My little boy started school in September (he is 4) and literally cried every day for weeks,” she commented. “Being a teacher myself, I tried every strategy that I had advised in the past, but nothing worked with my son,” she continued.
“I was then told about drawing a ? on his hand,” added Abbott. “We tried it and the tears stopped….a couple of months on, we still both have hearts drawn in our hands and charge them up with our love by holding hands on the way to school, but it works! He tells me that when he is missing me or his brothers he squeezes his hand really tight and knows we love him,” she wrote.
This seems to be a tried and true way to ease the anxiety your children may be feeling. Please share this story so that others might try it as a way to help their own children. Sometimes, it is the smallest things which ultimately have the greatest impact on our lives.