Note: I took a little almost month-long break from my newbie blog. The reason? I needed a time out. I found myself a bit excited about reading blog stats. And seeing if people commented. And generally feeling like a puffer fish with a wireless keyboard. So, I gave myself a time out until I could act like someone who seeks His glory and not hers. You will note that even though I have returned, I am a work in progress.
Today, I got the call from the babysitter that no one wants to get: “Do you have a minute?”
Yes, I think, I have a moment to hear that an SUV driven by a margarita-swilling bad person has rammed your six-foot privacy fence and mowed down my precious four-year-old who would be normally playing “boa constrictor”* or “park trash”** at home with her daddy but daddy is doing his very-helpful-for-the-family-budget consulting work and so she is happily playing at your house down the street.
But then, the babysitter tells me that the four-year-old has had a bee land on her this afternoon. “It didn’t sting,” she says.
To understand why a no-sting visit from a bee is a big deal would be to divide you, the reader, into two camps. In the first camp would be moms who have even-keeled children who generally take their lumps, perhaps mewling a bit. I do not understand your life. I have read about you in books, but I do not know the address to your house.
The second camp would be our kid: “Mom, is it summer yet? Are bees here? Is it summer? Bees come. I might get stung. I got stung once at Mt. Rushmore but I don’t remember it. Soren gave me a Spiderman Bandaid. Bees? Will you park in the garage? BEES! They might get in here. I am going to wear pajamas from now on because dust spiders might get me at night. Is it summer yet?”
So, you can see why I was a little anxious to hear that a bee had even bothered to offend my child with his mere shadow.
But then the babysitter told me the story. Apparently, the bee got inside my child’s shirt. And was discovered when the babysitter–who knew something was wrong–ripped the shirt off. Then, the bee was swatted away and the children were hustled inside. “I don’t know how she didn’t get stung,” my sitter said.
And then I exhaled, because I felt like God had given me a tender hug. You see, I’ve been doing this prayerful and purposeful parenting thing lately. I’ve ripped it off of any number of amazing bloggers, but it involves praying for your children. A lot.
I realize that what I am writing is the biggest “No duh” for many of you. But for me, it’s kind of new territory. I’ve been in survival mode for so long–four years?–with a child who has pushed my husband and I to the Parental Maxx. She is “spirited”–she is also amazing, smart, verbal and can rhyme poetry like no one’s business. And did I mention kind of, uhm, difficult? So, being in survival mode is almost like a prayer in itself: “Godgodgodpleasepleaseplease.” Not exactly inspiring stuff, but you get the picture.
So, as the clock turned Four Years Old, we were presented with a new creation: she is thoughtful, affectionate, amusing, careful to her sister, interested in poverty, concerned about animals and ready to get the summer crops in. In short, she is a Miracle. And my prayers have been constructive and thought out and generally very present, which is to say, I utter them out loud. And not in an anguished cry. But more of the “And be with her, God, as she navigates the classroom today. Give her strength when she is unsure of what work to do. Allow her friendships that are kind.”
Funny, all of this praying has made me close to my Abba. And so when I heard of the bee and my girl’s adventure, I exhaled. Not because she wasn’t stung. Children get injured. They sometimes are sick. Things don’t go right. No, I didn’t exhale because God is the God of simple miracles–even though I certainly believe in his protection–but I just knew I had been to him with my love and concern for my girl. And she was alright. But it was our closeness–me and God’s–that mattered the most. Out of our bond flows my best parenting. His best is love. And holds no sting.
* “Boa Constrictor” is a game in which one of you pretends to be a boa constrictor and the other is a wandering child. B.C. sets upon child and proceeds to have a snack. B.C. can be combined with an empty cardboard box for maximum squealing. Everything is better with a cardboard box, no?
** “Park Trash” is a game in which a piece of trash is found in a park. The trash is carefully scooped up and plopped onto a couch. Pillows and blankets are also thrown in the trash. When the hapless caretaker turns her back, the “trash” runs away, shrieking with delight over her cleverness. Reverse roles until suppertime.