My son falls a lot. He’s almost 15 months old and recently starting learning to walk. But even before that he always seemed to fall on his head. Nothing makes you feel like a bad mother more than the aghast looks you get from others when your kid falls on his head with you standing right there. Almost daily he seems to injure himself. It drives me nuts, not so much because I worry about him (though I sometimes do), but because of how others look at him and us because of it.
When I became a mom I was entering a new chapter of my life that could have been (and some would say should have been) filled with fear and trepidation. But having come from years of anxiety I made a conscious decision not to be an anxious mom. Yes, I still worry, I take care of my kids and make sure they are safe. But I determined that I would not spend time obsessing about things that are out of my control and that I would allow my children age appropriate independence whenever possible. With my daughter it has meant letting her try new things, even when I think she is too young but helping her when she gets frustrated. With my son it has meant letting him try to get his land legs, even though a part of me inside wants to wrap him in bubble wrap. He needs to learn to walk and he wants to. But if I stand over him, catching him every time he falls, he won’t learn to hold his balance or how to pick himself up. Most of the time he isn’t hurt. But when he is I comfort him and then set him back on his feet.
Again, I find parenting is giving me a tiny taste of the heart of the Father. How often must he, in his infinite love, want to wrap us in holy bubble wrap, cushioning us from the difficulties and falls of life? Better yet, just to carry us over all obstacles so we wouldn’t have to struggle. Yet, in his infinite wisdom, he knows that we need to learn to walk and by nature that will mean falling sometimes. But he is always there to comfort and guide us and set up back on the path when we stray.
So as I watch my son totter and fall today, I will remind myself that the same strong hands that hold me up in my times of need are there to help protect my son as well.