Have I mentioned before that my besetting sin is worry? (Well, I'm pretty sure pride is up there, too, but that would be another post.) I am a world-class worrier. My main mode of operation is to immediately jump to the worst case scenario and worry about it. And it isn't a vague sort of worry; it's a sick-in-the-pit-of-my-stomach worry. I am fully aware that this is sin; the Bible tells us that it is. To worry is to wrest control from God. To worry is to fundamentally not believe that God knows what is best for us and that God has the power to make that best happen. It's as if I truly believe that my worrying will change things. And on some level it does change things. It steals my joy. When I am worrying I cannot let myself enjoy what I have in the present. Instead I am too busy focusing on the 'what ifs' of life. The perfect example of this is right after P. was born. She arrived with a very odd looking swollen spot on her face between her eye and nose which caused her eye to be pushed up and out of alignment with the other eye. (Bad birth moment: When the attending resident [who had to be around even though I was using a midwife] asked J. if we had a history of facial deformities.) She was also having trouble maintaining an open airway and ended up in NICU for 24 hours. It was discovered that the swollen spot was actually an enlarged drainage duct between her eye and nose which was filled with fluid. We were to watch it to be sure it did not become red and infected. At two days old, this is exactly what happened, causing her to need surgery under anesthesia at a week old. That entire first week I clutched at her, so worried about what was going to happen. I couldn't enjoy her. I feel as though I missed an entire week of my newborn's life because of worry.
So you would think I had learned my lesson. I wish I could say I had, but I continue to fight worry. Some days it feels more of a battle than others; one I find myself fighting moment by moment. What is causing me such worry today? It's the anticipation of all of the separations I am facing with my four older children this summer. Church camp, which A. and P. are attending, is all next week. The week after, M. leaves for Samoa for seven weeks. The week after that, B. goes to scout camp for a week and later in the summer leaves to go to Philmont Scout Ranch for ten days. Starting on the 23rd, I won't have all my children at home with me until the middle of August. I don't like it.
I am excited for them and the things they get to do and experience. I know that it is healthy for them to start to go off on their own. In fact, it is one of our parenting goals that we will raise children who are mature and independent, functioning adults. But I won't lie and say I enjoy it. Selfishly I want them all around me all the time, as if proximity to me will keep them safe. But I know that's not true... being home does not guarantee safety. And I know that safe and good are not the same thing.
This parenting thing is hard.