Last night my son woke up crying because his ear hurt badly. He's been sick for about a week now with cough and cold and flu-like symptoms off and on.
It consumed a good deal of my evening, and it was difficult to soothe him. I couldn't help feeling a bit frustrated about the situation, especially knowing that today had been announced as a "banda" (general strike when no transportation other than emergency vehicles is allowed to run), so I knew we wouldn't be able to take him anywhere if he needed to be seen.
But, that frustration quickly melted away, and I ended up thanking God for these moments, holding my boy and having the privilege to care for him. At first I had wanted to just get it "fixed" and put him back in his bed and move on with my evening, but I ending up soaking in the moment with a deep sense of gratitude. I'm not commenting on any parenting philosophy of setting boundaries or not or anything of that nature, just that in that particular moment, I was able to be fully there and able to see God there with me.
There was a time that my kids getting sick triggered some really dark places in me. Each time that they get sick now, and I realize that the old fear and panic isn't there any longer, I am so thankful for the freedom. Even when we ended up in the emergency room last week for a fairly simple issue because there was some form of medical strike keeping the regular clinic open--and that ER is a hard place--I could walk in peace. The last time we had been in that room, I felt like it was closing in on me from the chaos around me and the fear rising inside. But, this time, I could see. Really see. So many hurting and needing, and I could see beyond me. So I am thankful to hold my sick boy in those moments at night. Because I was free and at peace and could just love without fear.
And, as I laid next to him, I was overwhelmed with things I had read earlier in the evening and shaken from the temptation to just "move on" with my evening. My friend is spending this week with her little boy at a hospital far from home for tests and procedures and a whole week of hard and watching her little guy face so much but holding on to hope and the beauty of the little guy God created as her son.
A friend of a friend has recently seen her son...the same age as my older boy...pass on from this life after a long, hard battle with cancer. My friend had posted just yesterday what she had written about the intense, consuming battle it was for them all. She wrote, "It was an incredible honor to serve my son in love."
And of the feelings of his passing, she wrote, "When I became a mama to my one and only son...the significance of what happened on the cross deepened for me. Mary was there. She saw her son suffer. Maybe like me she begged Jesus to let go. To end his pain. Maybe like me Mary felt her heart rip in two when her son took his last breath. One half full of peace that he was free of pain and suffering. The other half bleeding with unbearable grief at her loss."
I think of my cousin who had to watch two of her little triplet babies die and what she wouldn't give to hold them for any reason. I know she walked through so much just to hold her miracle boy and then later his sister.
I cannot truly even fathom the depth of pain and the sacrifice so many walk through with their children. Even thinking or reading it now brings me to tears. Friends and family and those I don't even know have walked bravely and humbly and gracefully through true sorrow and sacrifice.
And, I think how often I fail to recognize the incredible gift that is right in front of me...the opportunity to serve my boys in love.
So, as I lay there with my generally healthy son for my one slightly "disrupted" evening, I felt such an overwhelming sense of gratitude. I have to admit that cleaning up vomit or being woken up through the night or washing sheets in the middle of the night or fighting boys to take medicine or any of those common mothering things are rarely viewed in my heart and mind as a privilege, but truly, tonight I can say that I am so thankful for the chance, these small moments, to serve my son in love. May my eyes see every day that gift and may my heart remember with joy these moments.