guest post by Emily Humpries
When I was young, I knew that I loved kids. I knew (and often heard) that I was good with kids. I started babysitting at a pretty young age, and I LOVED it. Then, not long after I graduated college, I became a nanny, and I worked for a family that I adore for four years. During that time, I learned so many things about how to care for children not solely out of their needs, but because of who they are. By the time I left my position, I don’t think I specifically thought that I knew everything about kids, let alone raising them, but I think I did have some arrogant presumptions tucked under my belt that wouldn’t reveal themselves until later. About four months after I left my nanny position, I found out my husband, and I were expecting our first child.
I remember the first night that our daughter was crying and I couldn’t make it stop. I kept asking myself what mothers I knew would do. I remember standing over her, watching her just scream her little lungs out on her changing table, and feeling totally paralyzed because the Rolodex in my mind couldn’t come up with a book with the perfect advice or a phone number of a parent to consult for an answer fast enough. And then I heard it: I made you her Mother.
I remember my shaking hands were in the middle of changing a diaper and they froze at the sound.
I stood there, tears streaming down my face, and I thought “But Lord, I don’t know what to do!”
And I heard: “I made YOU her Mother. Not anyone else. I also have been helping Mothers for thousands of years. There’s no book and no voice that can help you more than Mine.”
And I cried. I was so dang tired. And her crying was so dang loud.
I took a deep breath and thought “Who is she? What does she need from me? Her Momma.”
To be honest with you… I can’t remember what exactly happened after that. (Great story, Em.) I think there may have been more crying (from both of us.) However, I do know that ultimately, I realized that some of the things I was eating while I was nursing were causing her to have gas bubbles. I also discovered that she needed gripe water instead of gas drops (contrary to other advice).
The whole point being, from that moment on, the Lord began to show me that:
1) I knew a lot about children, but I knew nothing about parenting.
2) I knew a lot about other children, but I had a lot to learn about the one I had been entrusted with.
3) I may have a lot to learn, but that He would not leave me in it and if I would be willing to lean in and listen, He would help me learn about Him, about myself, and this little person He made.
Fast forward to this week. My daughter is now three and a half going on thirteen. (#threenagers #yikes) We had to make a little road trip for a family doctor’s appointment. While we waited, my daughter and I went to a nearby park so we could pass the time and burn off some energy. Now, part of my sweet child’s personality is that she is fast, she is fearless and if it looks fun…then game on. Therefore, every time we encounter a playground with monkey bars, it’s the first thing she runs to. She wants to be good at the monkey bars. She climbs the stairs where you start with record speed, she’s on the first bar, she makes the first connection and then…“Mommy! Help me!”
This week was no exception. We’ve found ourselves stuck on the first rung. Now, inside my head I’m trying to think of how to explain to her what to do next, but also help her so she doesn’t fall. So we go through the process. I watch her. I can tell that when she gets moving she does actually know what to do, she just gets stuck. So we go again. This time, she gets to the second rung, I cheer her on, I tell her to keep swinging forward, and I say “you’ve got this! Keep going!”
And the next thing I know, she’s on the ground. As in my arms were out and I missed her. She slipped right through my arms. There’s screaming, there’s crying, and there are Mom eyes watching me from the side of the playground. I go through the whole checklist. No blood, no scratches, arms up, arms down, knees bend, feet work, can you follow my eyes? OK. Whew.
Now what? Do we leave? Do we do something else away from the scary monkey bars? I could feel the gaze of the other Mothers on the playground. I felt the panic rising up in my chest. I took a deep breath. I asked her if she felt better and if she wanted to keep playing. She said yes. Another deep breath. “Do you want to try the monkey bars again?” There was a slight pause. I don’t want to be heartless. I don’t want her to be afraid. I don’t want her to fall again. I don’t want to feel like I failed her again. I know her though, I know how much she wants to be good at the monkey bars. Then, she started to run back to the ladder as she gave me her answer.
She climbs up the stairs where you start, she’s on the first bar, she makes the first connection and then.. “Mommy! Help me!” I’m right here, baby. And we finish. And she didn’t try the bars again the rest of the day.
I have no idea if I handled that well. I don’t know if it was the right or the wrong thing to do. But I know we finished together because God made me her Momma. And if I would be willing to lean in and listen, He will help me learn about Him, about myself, and this little person He made.
And He will help you too, just call upon Him!
Purposeful Thought: “For I hold your right hand-I, the Lord your God. And I say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you” Isaiah 41:13. NLT
Hi! My name is Emily, but most people call me Em. I’m wife to Andrew, Momma to 3-year-old Nora Beth, and the owner of Simply Yours Weddings. I’m a Nashville area transplant by way of Good Ole Rocky Top. I’m happiest with a cup of coffee in my hand and the music on full blast. I love talking, writing and singing about Jesus, especially with good company and Mexican food.
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