I am such a little kid at heart. Actually, being quite honest in many ways I’m not. I get annoyed by messes, prefer being clothed, hate apple juice, and, oh, I like to nap. But I feel like vacation brings out the fun side of Jessica. Once I smell the salt, I have a one-track mind until my feet are squishing the sand. And, every single animal sighting brings me to squeals. You would never believe all the animals we saw on our recent trip to Myrtle Beach. I will spare you the list, but – get this – A REAL 11 FOOT LONG ALLIGATOR!!!!! My husband is going to interrupt me at this point and offer a more reasonable dimension. Ignore him. It was huge. And it was looking. right. at us. Yes, I was the one jumping up and down, craning to take pictures like I have lived in Hong Kong my whole life.
Then there were your token sand crabs (but big ones with pokey eyes), skinny lizards, jumping fish, and such. And, as mentioned, the Mommy Duck. We had a kind of affinity, the mommy duck and me. She looked so pathetically pre-occupied with those ducklings. Honestly her heart looked like it was going to pound out of her chest. (And let’s be honest, she lived smack dab in the middle of a submarine splash park, so I kind of understand the apprehension.) We tried to give the ducks all crackers, and she wouldn’t even eat any of them because she was petrified something was going to happen to the ducklings. Now things aren’t so dire here that I would ever turn down a free cracker. So don’t worry. But I do feel her pain.
To explain, I need to tell you a little about our life right now. Did you ever play “Jenga” as a kid? I sort of feel like my life is like Jenga. I keep pulling out logs, waiting for the pile to crash. It is like that parenting in general, you know. The first time they handed me Sam, I thought, “Seriously? I am in charge of this?? Are you going to give me a class first or something?” And when your child has a life-threatening allergy, the perilous and fragile nature of parenting always looms a little more ominously in the background.
We’ve had two really awful medical events back to back. And I am positive these are harder for us than him, being as we are the ones in control. Not really, of course, but sort of. I fish out the peanut shells in the sand where he’s playing (most of the them?). I call the company to find out if the hot dogs are safe (enough?). I wash off the table (mostly?) before we eat at the pool. I manuever Sam around the kids with the cheeze-its. I recall what I’ve eaten before I kiss him goodnight. I always remember the epi pen. I diagnose cough as cold or asthma. I prepare, I watch, I monitor. And – I Am Tired. Really tired. It is too much. I’ll miss something. I am not smart enough. I can’t hold it all together. I’m not able to do this job.
On top of that, I feel guilty. When I think of what God thinks of me – even though a million people tell me otherwise – I feel ashamed. I know in my heart of hearts, I don’t trust Him. I know in my heart of hearts, I’m frustrated and demanding and self-centered when I should be grateful.
Exhausted, and guilty. Not a real fun place to live.
Well, I have to tell you this. A long time ago when I was only weeks into being a mom, a friend of mine shared a verse with me. For us, she said. Us moms.
He will tend his flock like a shepherd;
he will gather the lambs in his arms;
he will carry them in his bosom,
and gently lead those that are with young.
Did you catch the last line? He leads the mommies gently. I have loved that verse ever since.
With the tired, he is gentle.
With the worried, he is gentle.
With the guilty, he is gentle.
With the frightened, he is gentle.
With the little ones over which we worry, he is gentle.
And this is the great and wonderful present of Christianity that I love everytime: that he does not treat us as our sins deserve, but He leads us gently to rest.