this past winter i took care of a friends 8 month old daughter. she was a sweet heart and a gem to take care of. mikey was also a sweet heart and a gem to this little lady. gracie on the other hand started hoarding away her toys, and staking her claim on mommy whenever baby was too near me. i understood all of this and expected nothing less.
i encouraged gracie first, to get to know this knew small friend, asking her where was baby's toes? mouth? ears? how many fingers does baby have? gracie started to introduce baby to some of her toys and eventually took an invested interest in baby's well being. she wanting to feed baby her bottles and baby-food, even wanted to change baby when she was stinky. don't worry, i didn't let her do much of the latter - although she was very helpful in handing me wipes while baby was working on her squirming skills.
sometimes i would walk into another room, to find a pacifier, grab the wipes or find a bottle, only for a moment and always within, ear and often eye shot. funny thing is that when i stepped away i was first concerned for baby, wondering if being in a different environment without the bigger of the three familiar faces, she might get upset and cry. not so. instead it was gracie who came looking for me. once found, and often en route back to them, she would say, "i was wondering where you are mommy?" with question and relief in her voice.
our house is a bi level and our living spaces are up stairs but the family room/play room is down stairs. gracie goes up and down the steps quite well, baby however, did not. when transitioning from one level to the next, gracie was suddenly unable to use the stairs. my gut instinct was to put my foot down and make her be the big girl that is was and just hold my hand while i held baby. quite honestly the fit she threw was not worth her heart ache or mine (call me a softy - i don't care). so i carried her down too, taking turns with her and baby. when baby was safely in which ever room, baby gate secured, i'd go back for gracie. here's the thing, while walking down the steps, holding me ever so tightly, she'd whisper in my ear, "don't let me down mommy."
i knew that what she meant was, once we got downstairs please continue to hold me, but what i felt in my heart resonated through my being.
don't let me down mommy. that's a really big thing to whisper into a mommy's ear. piggy back that new comment onto 'i was wondering where you are mommy," and good morning - holy wake up call - if ever i needed one!!
i pray that my kiddos never have to wonder where i am, what i would think about any given situation and know full well, that no matter what, where, why & when, i will always love them. i know their will be plenty of times, more then i wish to think on, that i will let them down. i pray that it is God that i don't let down, knowing full well that raising them up for Him, is doing my best to not let them down. even now that taking care of baby is done (she's home with her daddy now - yaaaaaaay for both of them! ) and those comments have long stopped (soon after baby stopped coming over ) i still hear them resonate in my head, whenever i look deep into their eyes, sink deep into their hugs and watch quietly while they sleep.
the charge to parent is a holy high calling. often i take it for granted, take them for granted. i know all too soon they will be out the door, living on their own and i'll probably be that mom crying my eyeballs out and wondering if i did right by them - through God. i'm sure i will make decisions that will baffle them, say things that just don't quite make sense. it is my prayer however, that those things come straight from the Holy Father. that one day they may look back and think, 'oooooh - i get it i now...' but if that never happens, i pray, that no matter what it looks like to the world, i do my very best to never let them down in the Lord.