The Doctor in NOT In

lucy

“MOM! I NEED HELP!”

“STUCK!!!!”

“What DOING, Mommy?!?”

“I NEED SNUGGLE!”

“What’s THAT, MOM?”

“MOMMY? MOMMY? MOMMY? We going?!?”

Phrase after phrase seems to be pouring out of my 2 year old’s mouth this week. Constant, incessant pleads for help and for my attention. And confession time, I am not the best responder. Age two is a magical time. A period of great growth and learning, especially communication wise. I love watching the personality and preferences come out and for the most part, our second is fairly independent and amiable. But the struggle to be heard and understood is palpable—as an infant, all children can really do is cry to be heard. Parents struggle to decipher and figure out different cries, facial features and body language to determine what the child needs. At two, words infiltrate and kids feel the freedom to share needs in hopes we can AGAIN figure out the nuances of their inflection and get context clues to determine the phrasing.  Take a minute to watch this sweet video from Gabrielle Blair of Design Mom—a perfect visual of age two…

As I struggle to get a few things done each day—balancing the checkbook, paying a bill or two, making dinner, putting in a load of laundry (and maybe, miraculously getting it to the dryer too), I find myself bristling at these constant requests. “I NEED….!” or “HELP!” or “MOMMY!!!???” It feels like an interruption and even, mean-spirited. {please don’t call CPS…I am just being honest and know, in my head, that he is TWO and that this is all normal!}

My moments of growling or quick retorts come from a place far removed from love. Yesterday, I was listening to a sermon that talked about prayer and how 90% of our prayers involve asking, supplication and speaking our desires to God. There are moments, though, as my youngest is demanding my attention, seemingly 24/7, and I begin to wonder how God does not feel those same frustrations I struggle with—impatience, annoyance & frustration.  We are constantly asking, pleading, whining and we are promised that God doesn’t turn his back or run.  God stays present.  I am “GUESSING” it must have something to do with the fact that God doesn’t have an agenda everyday, well except an agenda of love. God doesn’t have a to do list, attempting to check off as many items as possible before bed time. God’s agenda is to be our ever-present help. God desires to listen and truly hear us. God assures us of grace and forgiveness even when we are screaming for help AGAIN on the SAME thing for the UMPTEENTH time.

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My eldest tends to have more patience than me with the constant pleads for help these days—-I’m convinced it’s because he has a six hour separation from his borther while he’s at kindergarten. Nonetheless, I was struck the other night. I found him reading Drew this note….

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I’ll translate: “Drew, I know you get in trouble (“chubl”….favorite misspelling!) sometimes. I’m sorry. Maybe tomorrow. Love, Alex.” There was empathy there. He observed that Drew had gotten in trouble or needed help and instead of rolling his eyes and raising his voice (which, TRUST ME, he often does!!), he took the time to write him a letter of encouragement. He empathized and listened.

So, I am selfishly using this space today to declare that some days, unlike Lucy above, I just want to say, “The Doctor is NOT in!”.  “Mommy can’t help!”  “Can you just let me finish this ONE thing first?”  And yet, I am guessing this is part of letting go—the nature of parenting.  The business of grace.  When those plaintive cries arise, it is my chance to turn to Drew as Alex did, as God does, and listen, help, encourage, empathize & offer hope….”Maybe Tomorrow?”  And in my prayer life, that is wrought with requests and needs, to spend time instead in stillness, waiting and listening.

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