yesterday i was sitting in the parking lot of our church with the kids as they finished hunks of trader joe’s garlic parmesan bread. andy had gone in already; he was teaching & had to be in early to meet for prayer. we were listening to an “adventures in odyssey” audiobook, which my kids really dig right now.
without warning, kieran looks up at me, bread in one hand & a tj’s lollipop in the other & says, “mom, when i have to throw up, will you take me to the bathroom?” he’d been sick earlier in the week, & still today he said his tummy was a little hurting. but he was acting normal: wrestling with javin every minute, wearing long johns to be iceman or asking me to tie a ridiculously long piece of yarn around his waist for a monkey tail. perfectly normal. so this matter-of-fact question made me panic & scramble inside my head, as well as set my mommy heart reeling. (it sent javin reeling, too: his eyes were saucers with the prospect of little brother chucking right beside him in the back seat of the van.)
“of course, honey. mommy will take care of you.”
i wasn’t sure if i should feel tenderized that he’d felt like he had to ask, or grateful that he was verbalizing his needs in a solid, matter-of-fact way so that i could reassure him. checking in for love is routine with kids, but i still was struck down by it. i felt softened, that i’d fetch the moon in all its glory for that child. just say the word, little buddy.
(fyi: there was no puke anywhere, kieran was his fine self, putting ear plugs into & out of his ears during church, dropping them, crawling under the auditorium seat to retrieve them, & then sticking them back in his ears again. fine self. no puke.)
in the middle of the night last night, i woke up (or was wakened by one of the 3 boys that were there when i got up this morning) & thought of his asking me to take care of him. how of course i would. he didn’t need to ask. i’d do anything for that child.
3 a.m. clarity startles me: is this how God feels when we ask?
i don’t know. maybe it is.
when i pray & ask Jesus to help with the cavity i just discovered in kieran’s mouth, & i can see that it’s getting bigger, & then i cling to my worry like a freaking life raft, does God not say, gently, “of course I will, honey?”
when the baby is up in the night & then i’m up early in the morning, quickly followed by someone else small & i’ve not got a moment to my harried self, when i ask for strength, does God not say, kindly, “of course I will, honey?”
when i pray for protection for my kids, wafting up a string of syllables while still planning & plotting my own protective circle around them, does God not say, a bit matter-of-factly, “of course I will, honey?”
my lil’ scarface. there are raspberry bushes at the bottom of our sledding hill. if you go too fast & are going backwards on the sled with your brother & sister, this may be what you look like when you come out. praise the Lord, this is all it was, right? oy.
i don’t know. & yet, i do. God talks about His plans for us: ”for I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you & not to harm you, plans to give you hope & a future.” (jeremiah 29:11). & then there’s the whole a-father-knows-how-to-give-bread-&-not-a-snake thing. (check out Jesus in the new testament. He’s crazy.)
i don’t know. but every day i ask God to let me know more of Him, & when i think about kieran asking me if i will take care of him, i realize that i’m that needy, too. maybe even more so. i’m fairly certain this whole aspect of being cared for is something that’s gonna blow me open.
i pray it does.