I have never felt so unprepared for something in all of my nearly 40 years. I have spent 13 years parenting small humans, and the oldest one is now almost as tall as me, and the youngest one still needs help getting on the toilet, and I am so out of my league. When pregnant with Isaac, I read parenting books and went to all of the classes and obsessed about accidentally riding a roller coaster at the McLeod County Fair while about 4 weeks pregnant.
Then they put Isaac on my chest and, while I was in no way an expert, I could just love and snuggle and instinctually feel my way through motherhood. More kids and older kids meant new challenges, but we worked through them. Please don't read that we worked through them seamlessly. I cried and ranted and raised my voice and questioned my ability to do pretty much every single thing. But, we kept on chugging along.
Now I'm looking at this one teenager and this girl about to be 11 and this boy about to be 9 and this youngest one who still needs help on the toilet, and I really see how short a time I have with them and how fast they will be grown up and how tender their hearts are and how brave their souls are and how easily tender and brave souls can be busted open for the world and by the world. For the world and by the world. One small word changed, but that one small word changes everything.
I tucked a kid in tonight. Prayer. Song. Chat. Then, all of a sudden, tears. I gently asked what was wrong. "I'm just so sad for all of the people who don't have people who love them." This particular kid has a heart of gold, a heart for loving others and more empathy than a little person really knows how to handle.
We talked about adoption, homelessness, thieves, family, murderers, church, kidnappers, Christ, foster care, hunger, lack of drinkable water, alcoholism. We talked about loving others, saying goodbye to people we love, serving others and being served so we are well enough to keep serving, having fun so life isn't all about fear and worry and sadness. We talked about God and Satan and shining God's light and courage and fear. Other kids came into the room to see what was taking so long and we sent them away. This was important. This was deep soul work and deep soul work requires time, hugs, and Kleenex to wipe away the many tears. But mostly time.
This kid has so much to offer and is so quietly, unassumingly strong. Bending with the wind and wilting in a storm, this kid comes back stronger, roots stretching deeper, back a little straighter. How did I get chosen for this grand honor of watching this kid grow? I want so much for this kid. This kid has so much to offer to this hurting, beautiful world. Please, world, don't bust this kid up. I know you're rough around the edges, but be gentle enough that this tender and brave soul can be busted open FOR you, not BY you. You need this kid. We all do.