It’s Monday again. Somehow, when my feet hit the floor running, I must have tripped because “the hurry-er I went, the behind-er I got”! By the time I got back from the school, I felt terrible. It’s never a good morning when Little Guy and I argue (he was convinced that his pants looked ok…even though they were 2” too short…I guess he had a growth spurt). It’s never a good morning when our conversation degenerates into single words: “Move!”, “socks”, “shoes”, “door”, “buckle”, “go!”…all spoken with the same bark and decibel as a shotgun blast. It’s never a good morning when we get in the car and the clock says 8:30…and the school bell rings at 8:30.
I pealed out of the driveway like Mario Andretti, talking just as quickly as I was driving, carefully explaining that I was taking Little Guy to the school’s “kiss ‘n ride” and explaining where to go and what to do when he got there. Apparently my driving was the only thing that was effective. We arrived at the “kiss ‘n ride” in 2 minutes but Little Guy just stared at me blankly. I got him out and patted him on the back, wishing him a good day. Then he started to run down the side laneway…I started yelling his name, and running after him, with my car still idling behind me. I managed to get his attention and headed in the front doors of the school, but the last sight I had was my red-faced child, wiping his eyes and trudging down the hall. The 5 supervising teachers were too engrossed in their own conversation to notice our “drama” right beside them.
To be honest, when I saw him running away, I panicked. My head understood that he was confused and was running around the front of the school to his own door on the other side. My head understood that it was 8:33 and he wasn’t going to make it. But it wasn’t about the time. It was about the fact that when he ran around the school, he would be running near the road and someone could take him. I couldn’t leave the car idling in the kiss ‘n ride to follow and see him safely inside. And that is one of my greatest fears…that he would find himself frightened, alone, and hurt, at the mercy of a stranger. I fear losing him in an accident or to a horrible disease less than I fear losing him because someone took him away. If I’m going to lose him, I want to be there to comfort him and to hold him. It’s an irrational fear, maybe even a selfish one. But whoever said fear was rational?
My fear is not unique. It’s an instinctive part of being a parent to safeguard our children. We struggle to find a balance between making our children fearful and preparing them to face a world where monsters really do exist. It’s a fear that never really goes away, even when you’re children are grown and have moved out on their own.
This fear first haunted my dreams when I was pregnant with Big Guy. As a 16 year old single Mom, I was fearful that someone would decide I wasn’t equipped to be a Mom, and they would take my baby away. I even spent a few nights sleeping next to my parents’ bed! After he was born, the fear persisted. He was so beautiful and I felt so unworthy to have such joy in my life that I feared God would take him from me. (It took me a long time to realize that that is not God’s nature or design!)
2 Timothy 1:7 says “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline”*. First, I’m not meant to have a spirit of fear. Second, God has given me power and love as a parent. Third, God has given me the power to practice self-discipline to reject the fear, and to trust Him. One of the ways I have learned to do that over the years, when fear and “what-ifs” create that feeling of panic and helplessness in the pit of my soul, is to ask God to “go where I cannot go”. I can’t go in Little Guy’s classroom or Big Guy’s job site, but God can.
I was relieved to hear that the rest of Little Guy’s day went better, and unbelievably so did mine. Maybe my feet caught up with the rest of me…