Children+pain=hardest thing ever
June in Seattle is never lovely. Every year everyone here wonders if summer will ever come. This June is no exception. So today, being the native Northwest folk we are, we headed to the park for playing and a picnic in the (light) rain.
Everyone donned their waterproof parkas and we ran and swung in the constant sprinkle. We enjoyed some lunch under the picnic shelter and then ventured to the giant grassy field for a rousing game of sharks and minnows.
It was all fun and games until the slippery grass landed Rylee flat on her mouth as she ran across the field. She hit hard. Really hard. I was right in front of her. As I got to her there was blood and she was starting to panic as it ran down her jacket and she started to gag and choke on it and couldn’t get it under control. She looked at me for how to respond. I had nothing to sop the blood up. We were all in slick jackets. Chris had gone running for something but he was a ways off.
So I did what any mother in a pinch would do when your child and a lot of blood is involved, I unzipped my jacket, took off my shirt and stuffed it in Rylee’s mouth.
Just as a car was pulling into the park and just as Christopher was getting back (with a tiny paper napkin that would not have helped anyway). I had started to cry but I’m pretty sure I saw my beloved crack a big smile as he returned to find me shirtless in the grass field in the rain holding our sobbing, bleeding daughter. She had instantly calmed a little with something to keep her from seeing the blood. I put my jacket back on. And tried to be strong mommy but it wasn’t working too well.
In those moments holding her, knowing it would be okay and knowing her mouth would heal, my heart would have given anything to ease her pain and fear. Giving her the shirt off my back was nothing, it was done in an instant with no thinking. I’d have done more if I could to help her but I couldn’t and that is I think one of the most heart wrenching, difficult things about raising children.
Having known them and loved them since the moment we knew of their existence, we want to protect them. We want to keep their bodies and their hearts from breaking. We want them not to be wounded by words, by attitudes, by people. We would do anything to keep them safe.
But no matter what we do, no matter how we try – they will be wounded by the world because it’s made up of people who aren’t perfect. They will even be wounded by imperfect me, the mother who loves them more than anyone else does.
The only way I can live with that is that I believe this to be absolutely true:
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. -Romans 8:28
As my wise mother has always said, God doesn’t waste pain. He doesn’t waste anything. He can make good out of anything. Even when I scream in anger or anguish as I have, many times. Even when I won’t speak to Him for months because I hurt too much. Even when I doubt His very existence.
Right now, our kids are small. The wounds are (mostly) small. But as they grow, I know too well that they will get bigger and harder and hurt more. More than anything, I want them to know two things…
That they can trust God to care for them and to work it all for good.
And that they have parents who will love them without condition.