What they never told me about parenting:
1. You will never stop feeling a fierce maternal/paternal protection.
2. The lump in your throat as you drive up to the scene of your son’s car accident on the freeway doesn’t go away very easily.
3. Trusting God in parenting still means you have to hug them and let them go and drive back to their Army base in their rental car less than 24 hours after the tow truck, the ER, and the nighttime moments of waking them periodically per doctor’s instructions. (I don’t know how anyone can love this much and parent without God.)
4. The emergency calls never get easier to process after the adrenaline wanes.
*What God has taught me about life through parenting, especially during 911:
Faith and vulnerability can occur and exist in the same space and time. Vulnerability definitely isn’t wrong or weak. It is honesty before the Father God that this hurts, and you need Him to make it better. Beware of the times you feel the need not to face the hurt or receive love and comfort for what you just walked through. I have mistaken that for faith and found out I was just in fear of feeling the pain.
My 15-month-old granddaughter signs, and whenever she falls hard, she turns and makes the sign for “hurt” with a face of concern. She looks to see if she is accepted and if comfort is offered. Erickson’s “Stages of Psychosocial Development” explains this time in her life as when she answers the question, “Can I be self-confident and am I adequate? Or should I be ashamed and self-doubt?”
As I process everything that happened today, especially the airbags deploying and the vision of the wrecked car, I am allowing myself to be truly seen. Even if just by myself in the presence of God. I am no longer forcing myself to be stoic and unmoved by life’s events. I am looking to the Father God, in the way my granddaughter looks to me. “Am I accepted? Will I be comforted? Can I experience this pain without guilt and shame, though I am completely grateful and in faith?” And I find Him there, a loving Father God, ready and willing to scoop me up and love on me.
And similar to my granddaughter; After I am comforted, with my feelings acknowledged and validated, I will find this relationship an even deeper “safe space” and my trust in the love and acceptance of God will grow, and my reliance on Him will increase. Self-doubt will lose its grip and shame will no longer hold me in bondage in silence. It’s true: Perfect love casts out all fear. (It turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror.)
And that is how I can kiss my son and hug his neck tight, while sending him out the door less than 24 hours after I pulled up behind the highway patrol with its lights flashing.
You never stop being a parent, but thankfully neither does your Father God. 💕