Yesterday I found myself having one of those moments where I was ready to crawl into a corner, lie in the fetal position and suck my thumb for a good while. What was going on? My life felt so chaotic. My oldest daughter was working on her homework and kept saying “Mommy, I need your help with this.”
“Gabrielle, read the directions honey. You know how to do this.” Lately I had become increasingly irritated with Gabrielle and her homework mishaps. I felt myself going into micromanage mode. “Why do you write so neatly here, but not here?” I would probe her. Then of course there was the day before when I had told her to fill in the correct missing letters for each word…..AR, OR and IR. The word was “Forty,” but as I reviewed Gabbie’s homework I noticed that she put “Farty.” When I pointed it out, she laughed which then lead me to laugh. She knew exactly what she had done. How do I get this child to take her homework seriously? I thought. She had not been working to her potential in school and I was frustrated to see her making the same mistakes over and over again. I remember the day her teacher sent some old assignments home. On one of the assignments Gabbie was supposed to write her teacher’s name, Mrs. Humes. Well, instead she wrote “Mrs. Humps.” I had been questioning if I was doing enough. Am I a bad parent?
I have to make dinner. I thought to myself. Pot pies it is! I feel like having a VERY simple meal tonight. At this point I was waiting on my husband to walk in the door with my younger child Christina. He took her to the doctor’s to get her shots. However, she did not go out the door with this knowledge. Some might say that is cruel, however, they have not had to deal with the super human strength my children obtain when they hear the word “shot.”
At the age of 4, Gabrielle was experiencing some bone marrow issues in her leg and needed her blood drawn. It’s hard enough to get this child through a shot. I thought to myself. Having her actually sit still with a needle hanging out of her arm long enough for the nurse to get what she needed was just not going to happen. However, like every mother I had high hopes. I will just hold her down. Or better yet, her daddy will hold her down! Yes, he is much stronger. Doomsday had arrived. I sat in the waiting room very pregnant with my son Logan and holding on to my daughter Christina who was at the age where she wanted to explore every ounce of territory she could walk on. Lord, give me strength! Nick had already taken Gabrielle back and I was waiting to see any sign of life from the back room. Finally, Nick walks out with a very distraught child in his arms. The next thing I see is Gabbie’s hand come across her daddy’s face. SMACK! I could tell my husband was very angry. “You stop that!” he scolded her. She wanted down and was ready to make a break for it. “She smacked the nurse.” he said to me. He further explained that the nurse had gone to stick the needle in Gabrielle’s arm and she smacked the nurse’s hand and told her “no.”
“So did they get the blood?” I eagerly asked.
“Not all of it.” he said. I was very disappointed. This meant we would be making another trip back only to go through this horror once again. I just couldn’t understand how these two adults could not hold down a 4 year old. However, it wasn’t even two adults that had tried to hold her down. From the back room, I see a very large, male staff member walk out. His description is very similar to that of Michael Clarke Duncan of “The Green Mile.” Wait a second. That guy was back there too? I thought to myself. She had fought them all off, including him. Was she possessed? Where was this strength coming from? The last time I saw a display of strength like this from her was when I took her to the dentist.
So now here I sat, three years later waiting for my younger daughter Christina to come in and give me the look of death and betrayal. I wonder if she will even want to talk to me. I thought. Then I heard the door open and up the stairs my little Christina ran. I picked her up and looked into her little sad, brown eyes. I waited for her to say something and out of her mouth came the words “I have to pee!”
“Ok. Go ahead.” I said. So when she got done, I was given the horror story.
“They poked me in my legs!” I saw her Band-Aids when she had pulled down her pants. Then I asked my husband Nick for the report.
“How did it go?”
“Well, when we got there, I told her that she was getting shots. I laid it out to her. She said ok. They gave her the first two shots in the one leg and she did fine. When they got to the second leg, she did cry.” he said. I felt the warm tears filling up my eyes. “Oh, don’t cry babe. She is fine.” he said. Indeed she was. She was running around later that night pulling off her Band-Aids and showing her sister the battle wounds.
“Look Gabbie! That’s my blood on the Band-Aid.” she said. I couldn’t help but laugh. I got the kids their pot pies, but was feeling very rushed at this point. Gabbie needed to get her homework done. I had a Bible study group to attend at 7:00pm. I needed all of the kids to be fed. Logan, my youngest child, had been running around the house making as much noise as possible. He grabbed his sisters chocolate milk and ran up the stairs shouting “It’s mine! It’s mine.” I grabbed the milk from him as drops splashed the floor and gave it back to his sister. I picked him up to carry him upstairs with his legs and arms flailing about. I set him free, only for him to run back down the stairs and do donuts around the kitchen and living room area. I’ll put him in his chair. I thought. That I did!
“Sit here and let me get you your pie.” I said. He was really happy to hear the word “pie.” I knew in my head how disappointed he would be when he saw that this pie was filled with carrots and chicken, not apples or cherries. I went upstairs and sat down to read my cousin Nicole Swort’s latest blog titled “Digging for Laughter.” At that moment, God really spoke to my heart about my children. Here I sat so irritated with my very wound up child and my cousin was going through the same battle thousands of miles away. It’s not just me. So I then go to check on my son to see if he has made any progress eating his pot pie. I notice that he had poured his orange juice into the pie shell. He hadn’t eaten a bite. I couldn’t even get angry. I just turned my head and laughed. It was as though he was trying to send me the message that the only pies he would be eating around these parts is those with fruit in them…..hence the orange juice.
This morning I got my little Gabrielle ready for school. I wrapped myself up in her giant monkey blanket and sat on the front porch watching her as she stood and waited for the bus across the street. I felt myself having an emotional moment. I thought back to the days when she was a curly haired, fat little babe who would drop her stuffed animals to the ground outside of her crib so she could hoist herself over and land on them in an attempt to escape confinement. It didn’t seem like that long ago. It wasn’t that long ago! I have been so hard on her. Here I was trying to make sure that she was living up to the standards of this world, when God’s standards were what really mattered. At that moment, I said a little prayer. “Keep your hands on my child Lord. Make her what YOU want her to be.” I had finally realized that I was stressing too much about the small stuff. God will take care of my child. He will give her strengths in the areas he wants her to have them. My child can pass every test this world has to give her, but at the end of the day, she does not belong to this world. She belongs to God. So now as a mother, my job is to prepare her and all of my children for his tests. My eyes were open.
“For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” Matthew 16:26