It’s spring and around here that means one thing: baseball. Sports in this house is usually a joyous activity that occupies the hearts and minds of our children. Their daddy works away and is gone for long periods of time so it’s always refreshing to fill the days until his return with practices, games, stinky socks, dirty cleats and basically just all things sports. We want them to stay busy but we also want them to stay happy. When they have to much time to sit idly around, one of them inevitably ends up crying for daddy and that makes us all sad so we try to avoid thinking, or talking, about it to much. Four weeks may not seem like a long time but when you are in the eye of the storm, it is really loonnggg.
A few nights ago Jack had practice so I dropped him off and threatened him within an inch of his life not to leave his new jacket and water bottle at the field since he was riding home with someone else. Well, when I picked him up three hours later, imagine my shock to learn that he did, in fact, leave all said items at the field. Ugh. Sometimes I wonder why I even speak. I drove him back and listened as he gave me a play-by-play of every strike, foul ball and pop-up that happened during practice while the other two giggled and laughed listening to their bubby talk. When we pulled up to the field Jack’s coach and his son were still there practicing. Jack’s demeanor changed within moments of seeing this but it didn’t click with me right away. He asked me why they were still there and I told him that they probably just wanted to get in a little more practice and then I moved on to what we were going to eat for dinner. By the time we got home, Jack was in full melt-down mode. He got irrationally mad at his brother and sister and yelled at them, he was disrepectful to me when I corrected him and went into a katy-bar-the-door crying fit. I mean, I remember standing there in shock while this usually level-headed child of mine turned into an irrational, well, preteen. If someone could have recorded my face the first five minutes of his meltdown, I’m pretty sure it could have been a facebook meme or a wildly popular youtube video. After the initial shock wore off and I found words again, I tried to get to the bottom of what was wrong. After all, not an hour before he was as happy as could be and now he was quite possibly on the verge of dehydration from all the tears he’d cried. He finally mumbled what I somehow missed. HE MISSED DAD. It was an epic mom fail (story of my life) that I did not realize that when he saw his friend and his coach practicing together, he became immensely aware of the void in his life. And perhaps void isn’t the best word because when Nick is home you have never seen a more involved, loving father in all the world. He plays, and tickles and laughs, and makes funny jokes. (Seriously he is just the best thing ever and I wish I were exaggerating because his awesomeness makes me extremely boring in their eyes but alas, he is truly amazing.) But then again, void is exactly the thing we all feel. For the four weeks he is gone the emptiness takes up an extraordinary amount of room in our hearts. We feel it in the extra plate at every meal, the empty place in the bed, the empty seat in our pew at church (who am I kidding; we don’t have a pew. We are always late, we sit wherever we can squeeze in). And I do my best to fill the void. I keep them busy, I take them to church and teach them to pray. I try my best to stay upbeat and positive even though some days I miss him so much that the sadness takes my breath away. I hide all emotions but the happy ones. I even quit my job to be there for them all of the time. And yet, I am not enough. And the truth is, I will never be enough and neither will their daddy.
After my sweet boy cried until his eyes were swollen and my empathy had morphed into frustration, he finally fell asleep. He was missing daddy and truly heartbroken. This momma wept too. I was broken for my boy. I couldn’t fix his broken heart and it killed my soul. I did the only thing I knew to do. I prayed for God to help my baby and it was during this time in sorrow and prayer that God ever so lovingly made me realize that i can never be enough. And I’m sorry to report but you won’t be enough either, sweet mommas.. Our job is to teach them to know the one who will always be enough. Time is quickly passing and that chubby little hand that used to drag his “melmo” pillow through the house to snuggle in the bed is turning into a hand that will all to soon be driving a car. That baby boy who used to be stuck to my hip as I tried to do my chores rarely stays in the same room as me anymore. He is growing up quickly and his brother and sister are too. There will be many times in their lives that they will weep and they will feel great sorrow and their daddy and I might not even know it. This time he wept because he missed his daddy but later he will cry for other, more profound, reasons. And their ability to bounce back from their sorrows will depend on one thing: did we teach them to really know and seek the face of the one who can heal their broken hearts?
I don’t always sign the reading log, sometimes I don’t make them study spelling words as much as they should. My kid is the one who doesn’t have on his academic team shirt during the district championship because I forgot where I put it. My shortcomings in the role of mother are too numerous to list but I don’t ever want to be guilty of not teaching them to seek the one who can be with them everywhere they go, every single day of their lives. I don’t want to forget to teach them that there is a God who loves them, and is merciful and will rescue them when they fall. Whether it’s their first day of college and their stomach aches to go home or if the remnants of a bad choice leave them scared, ashamed and alone. I want them to know that there is a Heavenly father who will always be enough. A great big God who is with them wherever they go. My babies are really not babies anymore. They are becoming little people who have extraordinary emotions and opinions all of their own. I thank God for my wake up call to remind me that my duty as mother is far greater than helping complete a science project or get to practice on time. I am called to teach my children to seek and depend on a God who will be their calm in the midst of any storm they face in life.
Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6