Bittersweet produce of parenting

A trip to Kansas City with Grandma Nel. Katy received it for Christmas, and was so excited...and also a bit trepidatious. We assuaged her fears by reassuring her that Rosy could go along for company. When I was little, I used to read a book called The Maggie B, in which Maggie goes on a sailing voyage with only her brother James as "someone nice for company". So Rosy is Katy's "someone nice for company" this week in Kansas City. We put check boxes on the calendar two weeks ago, and the countdown began. They began packing their bags a week ahead of leavetaking, packing, unpacking and repacking their stuffed animals, dolls, and books. Bittersweet moments, watching them prepare for this milestone, knowing I would be a lonely mother at home with two lonely little ones while the "bigs" were gone.

It's pretty easy to give in to fear when you're preparing your two beloved girls for a trip to a destination - however safe and welcoming - four states away. A road trip of that magnitude conjured up all kinds of grotesque images of car wrecks, and kidnapping at reststops, and lost children at zoos in strange cities. I worked hard to teach them my full name and my phone number so they could call if they were lost or stolen. And then tried to put it all out of my mind. Relax and revel in the joy of packing with them.

It got the better of me the night before they left. Midnight rolled around. Their bags were all packed and piled by the front door for our morning departure. The velvet blackness of the night sky mocked my insomnia as I muttered frantic prayers begging for their safety. Finally I comforted the ache deep inside by taking a few photos of the girls sleeping...just in case.

We made it through the next day - even packing them up in Grandma Nel's car without a tear falling. Amelia and Caleb and I headed to the park, and I felt remarkably unfettered by anxiety, having poured my cares out on the shoulders of Christ, for He has promised to bear my burdens (Psalm 68:19; I Peter 5:7). We made grand plans to be rid of Amelia's "nuksies" (pacifiers) once and for all; to cuddle every chance we got; to read lots of board books; to teach Amy the ABCs and Caleb to say "bottle". It will be a fun week...albeit lonely. This has been the end goal of all my attachment parenting...all those nights cuddling with babies in my bed, all those achy backs from slinging them all day long, all the times I haven't left them with a sitter or in nursery because they cried such bitter tears when I tried to leave. All so that, at four and five, they can smile and wave as they go off on a five day adventure with beloved grandma and longed-for far-away aunt and uncle. Have a great trip, girls!

I found this excellent tidbit from Shepherding a Child's Heart very intriguing. I am including it here in the hopes that you may find it challenging and useful as well:
"Discipline exposes your child's inability to love his sister from his heart, or genuinely to prefer others before himself. Discipline leads to the cross of Christ where sinful people are forgiven. Sinners who come to Jesus in repentance and faith find grace and mercy. Jesus' redemptive work entails forgiveness, internal transformation, and empowerment to live new lives. The alternative is to reduce the standard to what may be fairly expected of your children without the grace of God. The alternative is to give them a law they can keep. The alternative is a lesser standard that does not require grace and does not cast them on Christ, but rather on their own resources." (p. 120)