We are currently in the hospital for Stephen’s second surgery. The surgery went well, though there were a couple complications that have resulted in his recovery going way differently than the first surgery. Apparently he was just a super freak who recovered way faster than normal last time and this time, well, this time he’s more ‘normal’.
Either way, super freak or normal, we’re glad to be this far into it and so thankful he’s doing well.
Sitting in a hospital for days makes anyone think about things they wouldn’t normally think about. For me, though, being pregnant and having a little baby constantly kicking me and being far enough along that my body is starting a fun thing called Braxton Hicks, my thoughts have roamed to places they had yet to visit.
Now I’m thinking about our sweet son. Our son whom we already love so much. Will he have the disease that made his dad’s life so hard for so long? Will I have to watch him as a teenager and then young adult go through surgery and recovery that make him not himself, out of his mind, at war with his body and feeling like he’s never going to be normal again?
And if he doesn’t have this disease, what about us, his mom and dad? What will our health be like? What will our sweet baby have to watch us go through and endure? What things will pull us away from our life of adventure? What things will make us die sooner or lower the quality of our lives, thus lowering his quality of life?
Will we be able to parent as well as we want for as long as we want?
Now, I know I am being doom and gloom. But, be honest. What person hasn’t thought about life and death while waiting for a loved one in surgery. Shoot, sometimes just being in a hospital makes me think about this stuff. I know I’m looking at the worst-case scenario as if that’s immediate, but just humor me.
The answer to the above question, more or less, is no. No matter if Stephen totally recovers from this and lives as a super freak forever; no matter if we eat paleo and work out like we’re competing; no matter if we practice yoga and live zen; no matter if all our food is organic and clean and we live in non-smog areas and never intake unnatural substances –no matter.
The reality is we will never parent as well as we want or for as long as we want. In every sense. Physically, we will be sick sometimes. We will have limitations. Chances are, at some point, some or all of our kids will end up walking through some health crisis with us. And, we will die. Emotionally, spiritually, academically, and any other way we can, we will fall short.
It’s crazy scary to think about all the ways I want us to love our baby, the patterns and systems and traditions we want to make part of our families DNA from the start, and all the ways we can simply just mess it up. Because we will. The health stuff, the physical stuff, will seem like a walk in the park compared to the other need-for-theraphy situations we will put our kids in. It overwhelms me to think that there will be moments when I am saying or doing something with my baby that just comes up, the unintentional hard word or misplaced frustration, and that those moments will hurt. And then there will be times when I actively choose to do the wrong thing, just like I do with Stephen. People hurt people. Parents hurt kids.
Watching Stephen this past week be vulnerable, broken down and frustrated with his body has left me feeling vulnerable. In our marriage, he has become my strength in more ways than one. When I think about parenting, I feel a deep peace knowing I will be parenting alongside the person who makes me the best version of myself. Watching him go through this and needing to be strong for both of us leaves me feeling open and unguarded. And, as my mind wonders, makes me think about what would happen if I had to parent without Stephen, what would happen if Stephen was sick forever, what would happen if I was sick forever. How exposed, vulnerable and hard parenting would be. Failing our baby would happen everyday.
…and this is where the crazy train stops. I was thinking about all this, praying for Stephen and our future, when I felt a deep assurance about our babies parents.
Our baby already has perfect parents.
This baby belongs to God, and He is the perfect Mother and Father. And no one will ever be able to take away our son’s relationship with the Son. It’s the only guaranteed thing in life. And he will have it if he wants it.
No matter if we fail regular, like normal parents do, or we have some insane grand hard situation in our lives like sickness or death, God never fails.
No matter if we do all the right things in our eyes, we will fail in some way shape or form. We will never be everything our kids need. We will never say all the right things at the right time, discipline well each time, lead from example or love each other selflessly. We will fall short.
And that’s okay, because our kids already have the perfect parents in God. He is more than I or Stephen will ever be. And He never changes, never leaves, never rejects.
I think our trick will have to be constantly pointing our kids toward that Perfect Parent. Constantly repenting and being honest that we are just people, people with our own crap and short comings, and though we are trying, we know we’re not nailing it every time. But that’s okay because we don’t have to. We do, however, have to point them up.
This peace of knowing that no matter what -no matter how we do or don’t do and that it will never be perfect, God is still the forefront and backdrop to everything . He is more, He is bigger and He is enough.
He is Stephen’s Perfect Parent. He is my Perfect Parent. And we have the privilege of introducing our son to this Perfect Parent. And every time we fall, we can rest assured that He did not. He is still there, regardless of what we do.
And that makes me feel like I can do this. No matter what.