This afternoon my eyes were opened.
We were happily playing in the backyard and Michael, who was standing at the edge of the patio, was crying and screaming. I could tell he had some blood on his lip. I realized he had probably tripped and reopened the abrasion on his upper lip (from Sunday). I ran over and scooped him up to comfort him. It wasn't until I was holding him close that I realized that one of his legs was covered in ants. And now so was I. I was screaming as I tried to brush them off of his little body. I ran inside to the kitchen sink I struggled furiously to get his clothes and diaper off of him so I could rinse him in cool water. All the while I am fighting tears as these awful ants are biting me with a vengeance. Oh, my how they hurt! I am sure these are the meanest, most painful ants ever! At some point I felt a wet rag on my legs. Unbeknownst to me, Jacob had gotten a wet cloth and was trying his hardest to wipe the ants off of me. I still have not found the ant bed in the yard. I have searched. All I can think is the rains overnight resurrected them from somewhere. My poor baby!
As things calmed down, God began speaking.
Now, with four little bitties bouncing around our "cozy" little home all day and playing in the yard like monkeys, the amount of bites, bumps, scrapes and bruises can number quite high on any given day. I hear their cries all day it seems. It is so easy to minimize this multitude of hurts. Some may encourage parents to "not baby them." And so often I "soothe" them with words like "it's OK," "be brave," and "it's not that bad." But why can't I baby them? They're babies after all - my babies. If I think a bit, I can readily admit that often times I would like to be "babied" as I ram my shin into the corner of the open dishwasher or whack my head on the bunk beds. If I am really honest, I would say at times I too would love someone to scoop me up and ease my hurt, give me a hug or gently rub my back.
What do I want my little ones to learn? I want them to readily show care and concern for another in need or in pain. I want their hearts to be moved to help another. I want them to learn that God is this way. He extends His mighty arms to hold us and heal us, to console us in our need and pain.
And how best do I believe they can learn this? Example. Pure and simple. Example. If they are to learn how to be sympathetic, empathetic, understanding, they must see it in me. If their hearts are to be moved at the sight of need and pain, they must see mine moved. I must make the extra conscious effort to show more love, more understanding, more tenderness and care.
So I learned a few things today. First, I learned Michael is not seriously allergic to ant bites. Yeah! But more importantly, I heard God speak. I heard God tell me what to do. "Celeste, I know you love your children. You give them your best. You comfort them and console them. But don't be afraid to give more. Give them more comfort. Give them more tenderness. Give them more gentle care. Give. It will serve them well."
Yes, God. Thank you.