And is there any mother who hasn’t asked herself that same question at one time or another. Well, today was one of those days. Here’s how it happened.
Our Lil’Man has a tendency to complain. For a couple days it was his upper arm. In play I gave him a “good job” tap/punch on the arm, and he was all “Ow, don’t do that.” I apologized, listened about his arm for a bit, gave him a hug. I thought maybe he’d bruised it at the Play Gym he went to with a friend over the weekend.
Sometimes he’s not wanted to ride his bike to school even when the weather was nice. He’s had a tendency to fall behind, complain about his legs. These sorts of complaints are fairly common to him, and they are only voiced when he’s doing something he’d rather not too. For instance, fairly often during homework.
I’ve assumed a couple things. 1) He was wanting some extra attention. And let’s face it, he’s too cuddly not to get it while at the same time I try to downplay the complaint itself and focus on expressing my love and appreciation for him–anyway. 2) He’s not really hurting that bad. I mean, he’s fine at recess, right? (Yes.)
So yesterday when his eye was bothering him, and he made such a huge deal of it we put on an ice pack, gave him some children’s tylenol and lots of pats. I thought I listened, but those two assumptions were there. Even in the car after dark when cringed away from headlights and said “ouch!” I suspected maybe he had a mild migraine–my light sensitivity is tied to those.
Then TODAY he wakes up with the tell-tale pink eye that really looks like he has pink eye. I called the doc, got the morning appointment, dropped of the other kids at school and side-lined the to-do list.
The doctor says it might be pink eye, but with the light sensitivity he wants to rule out another infection (didn’t quite catch the name of that one). We get an immediate appointment with a opthamologist and drive across town (it’s not far) to that clinic.
Then comes the moment when BAD MOM feelings descend.
“Does he not complain of aches or pain in his joints?”
Uh-oh. Joint versus arm is pretty much the same in my kid’s language. The way they all consider their foot or ankle “leg.”
Needless to say Lil’Man does not have pink eye, and all those little complaints are also tied to a larger issue. We have a referral to another specialist, and I don’t know what is in store.
As a parent, though, I have to address these feelings that I’ve let my child down, that I haven’t done my job the way I’m supposed to. And I have to acknowledge that the Bad Mom thought is a lie. It’s a lie from the Father of Lies to tear down moms and dads, to make us feel bad about the relationships where we wield the strongest power, the life long influence.
I reject the lie. I reject it on behalf of all mothers who love their children, who do the best they know how, and can’t possibly be prepared for every eventuality.
I thank God for Unexpected Blessing of the pink eye. The one that sent us straight to the doctor, and to another doctor, and to as many doctors as my son needs to address his issue to the best of the ability of modern medicine.
The pink eye that reminds me that I am not in control, that control is a seductive illusion. That my child and I are both in the hands of the One who’s the whole world in His hands. The One who gave me these children and made me a mother, because He believes in me even when I don’t believe in myself.
Kristin King is an author, publisher and President of Future Hope Africa. She lives in Holland as a US expat with her husband, their four sons, and their golden-lab.