In the wee hours of Mother’s Day, it happened again. My four year old had another accident. This time he slept through it, but his entire body and pjs were soaked and I needed to wake him so we could clean him up and change his sheets and pjs.
Which created a dilemma.
He’s not your average four year old. He’s strong willed. He’s difficult. He’s the most hard headed person on the planet. He’s a champion tantrumer, a professional screamer, a hard hitter. Things that are simple with other kids just aren’t with him. We saw a play therapist once, trying to get him all the help we can. She said she couldn’t help us because parenting-wise we were doing it right. Strangely, that broke my momma heart. Of course we all want to hear we are doing it right. But when doing it right means our child’s life is still so much harder than it should be, I think we’d rather hear, “You’re doing it all wrong. Here’s the right way. It will improve so fast if you do this.” We now see a counselor as a family to help us be proactive and deliberate with behavior modification and learning to work through emotions. It helps. But it’s a painfully slow help.
And now, two weeks after the emotional turmoil of a miter saw accident and my husband nearly amputating his thumb, two weeks after emergency surgery to reconstruct and reattach it, two weeks after finding out he hasn’t worked at his employer long enough to receive disability, two weeks after the church and family and my tribe of mama friends lavished love and support and groceries and prayers on my family, now this.
He’s having accidents every night after no night accidents for months and every single time they trigger a tantrum. Every time they wake his little sister in the next room. Every time his sleep deprived daddy and I do everything we can to be there for him and calm him down during the hour of screaming. We try to talk to him. We try to sit silently with him. We try to sing to him. We try to draw tic-tac-toe on the windows with dry erase markers with him. We pray and we cry and we struggle. We struggle with the questions and the fears and the anger and the mind-numbing exhaustion. And eventually, the screams turn into sobs and we know he’s no longer stuck in the turmoil of his anger and sadness. And we get to hold him and rock him and love on him. And we tell him it’s okay to be upset. But he can’t hit us. And we want to help him find a better way than the screaming. And we love him to the moon and back and that will never change.
And that night, in the wee hours of Mother’s Day after the screams melted into sobs and as tears ran down both our cheeks, I held my boy and I played him this song.
And my prayer was this,
“I am not enough for this beautiful boy who struggles. The song says ‘ready or not, you need me, so here I am.’ And it’s true. I’m not ready. I’m not ready to wonder if it’s time for the child psychiatrist and the Zoloft. I’m not ready or equipped to help a boy I don’t understand. I’m not ready for the sleepless nights and the worry that threatens to eat up every piece of me and the fear that God gave this kid to the wrong mom who isn’t strong enough to be a fortress of peace for her child.
But I know who is.
When I am weak, Jesus tells me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ (2 Corinthians 12:9)
When I am afraid, Jesus says, ‘Don’t be afraid; just believe.’ (Mark 5:36)
When I am weary, Jesus gives me strength. (Isaiah 40:29)
When my child’s screams are too loud and I want to give into my anger, He Himself is my peace. (Ephesians 2:14)
When I want to give in to my worry and my fears about the future, I hear Him remind me, ‘don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.’ (Matthew 6:34)
So I pray that Jesus will fill my holes. That the rests in between the notes of the song my son and I are writing will be heavy with the presence of Jesus. That He will be what I cannot. That the God who created every piece of his body and brain, who knit him together so perfectly in the mystery and dark quiet of my womb, that He will give me wisdom beyond human comprehension to know how to help my son. That when I am too tired and too numb and too confused to know what to pray, that the Spirit would pray for me in my tears and groans. That as I surrender control to God, He will be the fortress I can run into when I’m not enough – so the holes in my roof and walls will be covered by the rock that is higher than I. That the wind and rain will never reach my child because his mama hides in Jesus.”
Noah bear, I pray when you are older that you will hear Jesus in this achingly beautiful song we are writing together.
You are the one who made me a mommy. Neither of us had any idea what we were getting into with each other.
But I would not trade one note of the song that is you.