There is something supremely satisfying about getting a baby to sleep.
There is also something about days when it all works that makes me all giddy and tingly and anxious to see what Joel's brothers and sisters will look like. Will they do what he did? Will they turn their cheek up towards my lips while lying against my shoulder, silently begging for more kisses? Will they grin wildly and cause my heart to flip flop a little every morning as the sun begins to peek between the blinds, when I'm changing their diaper and cooing, "Good morning, baby! Good morning, sweetie heart!"?
The other day I was trying to clip Joel's fingernails. You can probably guess where this is going. He had scratched himself, yet again, and I was determined to find the offending nail. He was squirming. It wasn't the best time to be doing what I was doing, but I was determined to eradicate this nasty little nuisance that was hurting my baby. And so I went in to trim and he jerked or something and then there was bright red on the tip of his tiny index finger.
Immediately afterwards, I was giving him his bottle, sitting here on our couch, crying. My husband sat on the coffee table in front of me, holding a rag to our son's tiny finger and keeping a hand on my knee, telling me it was okay, that Joel was fine. I just kept crying. Joel was content with his bottle and didn't seem to notice anything else. But all I could see was that little finger and know that I did that. I had hurt my son. Already.
A few days later I was contemplating lessons in light of life and I thought of that teeny, tiny, bloody finger and how parents always want to do the best for their child. You just do. Looking back at my own life as a child before I was a parent myself, I see that Mom and Dad were doing just that. Just trying to do their best. Not trying to harm. Only trying to love and protect and remove things that could scratch and leave scars.
And despite the best of intentions, there were times when the interference only made things worse. Please understand the analogy here and know that I am not in any way throwing my parents under the bus. They are wonderful and I have been so incredibly blessed by having my mother as my mother and my daddy as my daddy. But I am beginning to see as a newly christened parent, that there will be times when I will want to step in and help. When I will want to rush to the front lines. When I will be compelled to advise, to caution, to say "No!" And there will be times when this helps... and times when it hinders... or hurts.
Because no matter how much I hate the idea, my little boy, with the bright blue eyes and the abundant smiles, is going to get hurt. He's going to have hurt feelings and scabby knees. He's going to go through that age when he thinks he knows more than me and Aaron. I love him and am addicted to how precious he is... but I know there will be days when I won't think he's that cute at all. That there will be days when I will want to reach in, grab his hand, hold it tight and fix whatever needs fixing.
But I can't do all the fixing. I can't always be the one doing the fixing. Even though, right now, Aaron and I are the center of our child's universe and he currently depends on us for everything... this will not always be the case. We have to grow him up in such a way that he sees someone Holy in the fixing... and not us. Joel was given to us. In a very real sense, we are borrowing him. He is not eternally mine.
I know from my own life that some of the best lessons were some of the hardest to come to terms with. They were the ones that Mom and Dad couldn't fix or handle for me. There were things I had to own. Things I had to relinquish. Decisions I had to make... had to live with. They always loved me... I know that. But they couldn't always take care of things. And they weren't supposed to.
The God who created the Heavens, divided the waters, decided what day would look like and how night would feel,... that same God loves my boy. Loves him. Even though Joel is part me and part Aaron and I grew him for 9 months... it is God who did the true creating. And even though He equipped me to carry and give birth to Joel, and daily teaches me how to love a little more and mother a little better, He is the ultimate fixer. I can only do so much. And it makes sense, really.
Joel isn't all mine. I have to share.
"For this child I prayed, and the Lord has
granted my petition that I made to Him.
Therefore I have lent him to the Lord.
As long as he lives, he is lent to the Lord."
~ I Samuel 1:27-28