Saturday, March 5, 2011
One thing I've noticed about myself is that I have a tendency to downplay/pass over some of my childrens' concerns simply because I feel I don't have time for them. And really, the urgency of the moment tries very hard to convince me of this fact! No sooner do I kiss a scraped knee than do I hear crying from the other room from someone over something else! As a survival tactic, I've learned to tune out the seemingly "unimportant" and focus on the BIG deals, like broken bones, blood and tantrums, and pass off the little bumps and bruises as "no big thing." Of course. No one would fault me for this right?! I mean, I've got to direct traffic as best as I can and sometimes, this is what needs to happen.
As much as I agree that some things do need to be downplayed a bit, (no one loves to be around a child who has been coddled way too much by their mom) I'm still trying to learn major balance in this area. It's hard. And I'm also coming to understand that's it's probably better to error more on the side of compassion rather than ignorance because our children are in a relationship with us-they're not robots who are expected to give a certain outcome.
This last week was another opportunity for me to learn such things. Over the course of the week, each child, one by one got pink eye. Aahhhh...the cursed goopy eye. And by Wednesday, I had caught it. Luckily I had eye drops on hand and was able to administer them early to the boys so their eyes never got so bad. Nevertheless, because I was so busy monitoring them, pink eye took me by surprise and I got it pretty bad.
And let me tell you, after a few days of it, I felt miserable. Downright, I want my mom, miserable.
One of the days my left eye was almost swollen shut and goopiness was pouring out of it at regular intervals. Disgusting, I know. And in that moment of pushing through and keeping everyone going, it was as if God gave me a little glimpse into what my children go through when they get these sort of things.
It's uncomfortable. It's gross. And it hurts. Plain and simple. And they want their mommy.
I even have the advantage of experience which tells me logically that it will go away soon. They don't have that. And I still expect them to keep going for the most part because I don't really think that these things are THAT big of a deal.
These situations are the perfect opportunity for God to get a hold of my heart, set my feet back on the right path and remind me of grace and compassion. This is me "entering in" and seeing for myself what they must be experiencing.
I think one of the main reasons I can pass things off is because I simply have to prioritize. "Okay, him wanting me to see that tower isn't as important right now as the baby screaming to be fed. I can see it in a minute." I must make choices. There are a lot of them and one of me. How do I manage? How do I dole out grace, love and joy to all of them all at the same time? But here's the deal-they're individuals. I see them all coming at me as one big group of needs, but they don't see themselves that way. They just see their one need. Rachel Jankovic beautifully states this in her book, Loving the Little Years, when she says, "I have to adapt. It is not their problem...Most of the time the children do not know that what they are doing is overwhelming. This is because they do not forget that they are individuals." (emphasis mine) pg. 52-53
I have four little kids. But that's my problem, not theirs. I have to learn to deal with it gracefully. They don't. This is what God's given to me as their mom and He'll help me. It's not their problem. That means that even though I can be overwhelmed by all of their "needs" I still need to figure out how to reach them all, love them all individually and sympathize with their concerns because that's my job.
Sometimes, it takes a bout with a childhood illness like pink eye to put me in their shoes long enough to be reminded of this fact.
It's not fun but, it's effective.
Entering in...goopy eyes and all.
Thankful those eye drops finally started working.
And thankful for the reminder.