"Sleepy Baby" by Mary Cassat
I've thought a lot before about the weight of parenthood. I've thought about the important vocation God has blessed me with, my responsibilities to care for, nurture, educate, protect, and guide my precious children. But, tonight, that responsibility hit me with new poignancy.
We'd just taken the roast chicken out of the oven and Brian was carving it up. Suddenly, James woke up from his nap, so I ran off to change his diaper before dinner. Just as I was setting him down on the changing table, already crying at the top of his lungs, I heard a loud "thud," and then another little voice crying from the hallway outside the bedrooms. When the wailing from the hall not only didn't stop but became more urgent, I set my screaming baby down on the bedroom floor and ran to find Sophia.
When I got to her, she had her hands over her mouth. I hugged her to me and tried to calm her. Then, I looked behind her hands: Her lip was swollen out terribly and was already a blackish purple, and there was blood streaming out of her mouth! Immediately, I tried to discern how badly she had injured herself and whether any teeth were broken, but being a typical frightened toddler, she wrestled her head away from me and wailed all the more, and I couldn't see what was going on.
In time, Brian and I staunched the bleeding and calmed her down. He sat her on his lap and read her her favorite nursery rhyme book to soothe her while I went off to care for our other crying child. And, as I was changing the baby and then sat beside my husband and poor, brave little girl to nurse James, I thought to myself, "I am the mother of these children. The only mother they will ever have. And, I'm responsible for taking care of them if something is seriously wrong. I'm the one who has to think and react and make decisions. Wow."
And, blessedly, this hightened sense of responsibility did not frighten me. For I remember that I have a Father and a Mother in Heaven who are caring not only for my children but for me, as well. Yes, I have tremendous earthly responsibilities in regard to my children. But, ultimately, they are God's children, and He and His Mother will protect and care for my babies in ways even I cannot, ways I cannot even comprehend. I cannot fathom how hard it must be to be a parent without knowing and experiencing the loving care of God.
Thankfully, Sophia is alright. She even asked to have some of the roast chicken, which didn't suffer from sitting cold for the half hour or so it took to take care of our kids and went down for bed just a little later than usual, though she did ask to sleep in her "cah-reeb" (crib) instead of her big girl bed tonight. We willingly obliged.
I wanted to thank all of you who have been praying for my grandmother, as well. She is so much better today, I am told! She was very lucid and was able to eat and drink a bit. We continue to pray that she will maintain the capacity to swallow, as this will allow her passing to be much less painful since she would not have to suffer dehydration. We know this is the end (barring a miracle, but somehow, I sense the time is right for her, even though I wish we had longer), but we just pray that the end will be a peaceful time rather than a painful one, for her sake.