Monday, May 7, 2012

Noah's Arm, Benjamin's Face and Place to Land

The kids are off to school and I have turned off anything that makes noise in the house.  I am sitting still and listening to the birds and tree frogs singing outside.  It is time to take a breath.  This weekend has been full.

Parenting is unpredictable and I am often caught off-guard at how quickly things change.  Saturday was my reminder.

The day began with a family outing to watch Josiah play soccer.  Watching my sweet, laid-back baby trying to find his aggressive side was exciting, frustrating, funny.  I left early because Noah had a track meet and was going to attempt to medal, his first chance this season and pretty exciting for a freshman.  Watching him run was amazing.  He finished the two mile in his best time yet (10:16, for those who follow such things) and came in third to two seniors from other schools.  Incredible.  He had his heart set on a medal and met that goal.   His coaches and teammates were thrilled that his finish puts him in a place where he may have a shot at competing for State!

So far, so good.  Right?

Even though he was achy, we headed off to another soccer game.  Noah's this time.  And we met up with Mark and the rest of the kids.

I took one look at Benjamin and said, "What happened to your face?"

"Poison ivy." he replied.

All over his face.  And neck.  And some on his arm.  And his belly button.

Not good.

Noah finished his soccer game without an issue and was thrilled to be headed off to a youth group event.  As he climbed into the car with buddies and a parent driver, I felt the need to pray for him.

It's kind of a scary feeling, to be honest.

I waved at my boy and prayed, "Be with him, Lord.  I know we both love him.  I also know he is Yours.  Be with him while I am away from him."

Feeling like I needed to pray for him weighed on me, though.  I reminded myself that I cannot be with him all the time, that he is growing up, that raising a child has an awful lot to do with trusting God... and I went on with my day.

By 8:30 PM, he was texting us.

Noah:  Ow.
Me: Sore from race and soccer?
Noah:  No.  Hurt wrist.
Me:  What?  How?  Are you ok?
Noah:  I think  so.  Really bad.  It is wrapped up but really hurts.
Me:  Cut?  Sprained?  Blood?
Noah:  Can't get a comfortable position.  Going to IHOP.

(Yes, apparently eating is the priority to a 15 year old, even when injured!)

Yesterday, we took him in to the doctor and, you guessed it, he broke his arm.  Again.

So, Sunday was spent running the kids to doctor appointments, thinking through athletic ramifications, dealing with the poison ivy and dolling out ibuprofen.  I went shopping for special soap and creams for Benjamin's face and dropped him off to support a friend who was having a very hard day.

And it was stressful.  And I was worried.

But, I was also grateful.

Because I stood in a parking lot and prayed for my boy and I was a little fearful then but the truth is he is okay.  His arm is broken but he is really just fine.  And yes, it is going to be frustrating but the bottom line is that I have him.  I get to see him smile and listen to his stories and help him manage without his left arm because he is with me.  And maybe I needed to see that.  Maybe I needed to see that this alone is enough.  It is enough to share my life with him... even with a broken arm.

Now, here I sit in a quiet house preparing for new doctor appointments to be squeezed into our already busy schedule.  Here I sit listening to birds and frogs and gentle rain and feeling like we are really blessed.  I am reminded again that parenting requires flexibility.  It demands that I release my white-knuckled grip on what I feel must happen and make room for the unpredictability of life with kids.

And I don't know if you are still reading, this is not my most poetic post, but I am learning lessons through all of this.  I am learning that knowing what will happen doesn't matter nearly as much as being present in what does.  Planning out the ins and outs is not nearly so important as living with the people who share your road.  I spend a lot of time feeling like I make our world go around but in reality, I control little, if anything at all.

And maybe that is what moms need to hear.  Maybe we all need to be reminded that this big work that we do each day is not so much about being in charge as it is about being right there.  It's about dolling out ibuprofen and keeping a cast dry in the shower.  It's about knowing where the hydrocortisone is and where to buy poison ivy soap.  It's about sitting with a child with a broken arm and soothing a child who itches so bad.  And, more than anything, it's about accepting the reality that you cannot keep them safe but you can appreciate the minutes you have.

So today, that's what I will do.  Because being grateful and present feels a whole lot better than feeling stressed and worried.

This life we share with kids is not a check-list to get done.  It is a place to land when the check-list go awry.

Blessings on your day.

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