Thursday, December 13, 2012

What if I screw this up?

It was an October morning a decade ago.  My newborn son was cradled in my arms.  After nearly two years of waiting, hoping, praying, testing, losing, excitement and tears he was finally here.  Finally my arms were no longer empty.  Everything I had hoped for since the beginning of my memory slept there in my arms.  I was a mommy.  All was right in the world.

And then this wonderful nurse came in and informed me that my doctor was signing the discharge papers as we spoke.  I could take this precious treasure and go home.  Suddenly I panicked.  Maybe everything I had ever wanted was too much.  Maybe I wasn't cut out for this job and all those infertility treatments were forcing something that was never meant to be.

Are you SURE?  My voice cracked as I asked.

"Am I sure what?" she asked.

"Are you sure you trust me to take him home?  Are you sure you trust me to take care of him and meet his needs?  What if I screw this up?"  The tears started falling as I verbalized the fears that were taking root in my heart.  What if I screw this up? 

She chuckled and assured me that I was up to the job.  She assured me that every mother that came before me had asked the same question.  She squeezed my shoulder and told me I'd do a great job, that I was going to be a great mom and that I wasn't going to screw this up.

The sleepless infant nights passed.  The crazy preschool years passed.  And we survived them without screwing up, at least not too badly.  Now my kids are school aged.  The problems we encounter are no longer poop Picasso wall paintings, and spilled olive oil all over the kitchen floor.  My greatest parenting struggle is no longer that I haven't showered in a week, that there is crusty food in my hair and that I haven't talked to another adult besides my husband in days.

My son has a friend whose parents just split.  On a Friday one of his best friends was at school, on the following Monday she was gone.  Her parents suddenly split over the weekend and mom and daughter moved away.  His heart is heavy.  I have a child who can be happy as sunshine and then suddenly breaks down into tears telling me that he feels sad but he doesn't know why.  I have a child who regularly makes comments about weight, one day diets, feeling lighter for a day, and sometimes refuses to eat. 

My children now need me to guide them through big things, to guide them through tough emotions.  I have to explain theater shootings, a missing and later discovered murdered and dismembered child, friends moving without being able to say goodbye.  And the other day, with tears in my eyes, I asked it again.  I looked deep into my husband's eyes and asked,

What if I screw this up?

It isn't wiping noses and butts anymore.  Now it is guiding them through life, making sure that home is a safe place to land when they fall, helping them to feel the emotions that threaten to overwhelm them.  I know God hand picked me for these boys.  I know He thinks I'm the best mom for these kids.  I don't however know why He thinks that.  I only vaguely trust that, just like the nurse said to me ten years ago, that I can do this, that I won't screw this up. 

Thank God that He covers me.  Thank God that He can bridge the gaps that I leave.  Thank God that He has called me to be mommy to these boys.  Because without His grace and mercy, without His calling, without His strength, I'm sure I'd screw this up!

1 comment:

Joy said...

Wonderful, poignant post, Dawn. I absolutely relate with this in so many ways. I think it's harder to be a parent these days than when they were little...because now we're dealing with matters of the heart.