My dad went into the hospital this week with life threatening issues. It was scary. I spent a few days away from my family physically while also distant mentally. My amazing husband stepped in and took great care of our babies so that I could be available to my parents. Last night, I encouraged him to go out and have some fun as I was planning on bringing my kids to the hospital for a quick visit and dinner.
Allow me to paint this picture for you- I have three kids ages 12, 8, and 6. All external processors, leaders and extroverts! They all desired my utmost attention after being separated for two days. They wanted to share every detail from their life that I missed out on, they felt a bit nervous to see their grandpa sick and they sensed my vulnerability.
I sat them down on the couch and told them, “Listen guys this is a crazy time for all of us. The same anxiety that you feel because we don’t have answers is actually what we all feel!!! None of us have been in this situation before and we all need to know that we can depend on each other.”
“What does depend on mean?” My 6-year-old appropriately asked.
“It means I can count on you. I can count on you to think about others and not yourself tonight. It means, I can count on you to make good choices when I am not looking. It means I can count on you to protect each other’s hearts in the midst of this scary time.”
They replied, “Yes mom! You can count on us,” and so, we left the house. On the drive to the hospital I found myself processing with Jesus, thinking about how we, as parents, try so hard to shield our kids from pain or evil in the world. How we have a tendency to keep secrets and hide things so we don’t overwhelm them with truth or reality. But what good does it really do?
We spent a fabulous evening as a large family playing card games, eating popcorn, making each other laugh, telling stories and being loud (We are Italian we simply can’t help it!)
As we left I had a special moment with my dad that made me cry. He told me for the bazillianth time how proud he is of me and how wonderful my kids are. Now, I’m normally not the cryer of the group. But in this raw and random moment, after days of questions and fear, I finally broke down.
As the kids and I were on our way home, my son, Ethan, who is 8 said, “Mom I’ve never seen you cry… are you okay?”
“No love, my heart is filled with sadness,” I confessed to him, crying even harder as I was finally releasing my pain through tears.
After a brief bit of silence my 12-year-old daughter chimed in, “Do you want me to sleep with you tonight?”
“Yes!!” I responded immediately! “That would be great!”
Not a full second later my 8-year-old added, “I will sleep with you too, you can count on me!”
Then the 6-year-old, “And me too! You can count on me mom!”
The four of us hopped into my California king bed. We didn’t brush our teeth, we didn’t put on pjs. We just got in bed together and played some footsies. Love and hope that night looked different than other nights. Love looked like dependability. Hope looked like three kids. We didn’t have answers. We didn’t have solutions. What we did have was each other. That was enough for me.
Pain sucks but we shouldn’t be scared of it. When we choose to be vulnerable and embrace our need, the Lord can use pain to do amazing things. My kids know they can count on me to have food for them, hug them, pick them up from activities and teach them. Now I know that I can depend on them to be there for me when I need it. My heart is full!
Redefined by Grace,