raising cocoa children in a bittersweet world
Thursday evening, my recently-turned-six-year-old was vomiting bright green bile. The bright green was a progression from the yellow of earlier in the day. At about six o’clock, as he lay in his bed with his clothes still on, I noticed his breathing was awful. He lay on his back with his mouth open, and as he inhaled, his chest collapsed – the opposite of one’s chest should be doing. He’s ridiculously skinny, so it’s hard to tell sometimes with his ribs already being exposed. But his whole body was moving as he breathed. Something just didn’t seem right.
Long story short, I took him to the ER and after waiting 2.5 hours, they said he had pneumonia. As they prodded him with x-rays and IVs, sticking wires all over him and swabs up his nose, and as he screamed and cried, “Mommy, I’m scared,” I realized that there is no job more important to me than being that child’s (and his sister’s, and this baby-to-be’s) mother. As I tried to keep my tears in and just repeat to him over and over that it was all so that he could get better and that I was not going anywhere, I realized how empty my life would be without this child. For the second time in his short life (the first was when he was 13 months old and had internal bleeding), I felt like his life and his health was out of my hands and that out of control feeling over this being who depends on me to be in control was…unreal.
He’s much better now, although still on antibiotics and a steroid and an inhaler. I kept him home from school today, even though he was better, because a part of me could not bear to let him go, to let him be out of my sight. I cannot get his scared little face, with his big eyes and huge tears, out of my mind. I’ve been bawling about it every night since it happened, even though I know pneumonia is not a death sentence and he really is okay. But it was an emergency that I could not fix except to bring him to people who could.
Obviously God knew what he was doing when he designed to have my children grow inside my body before their introduction to the world. The bond between me and them created through this process of growing and loving is one that I needed to experience, a bond that transcends what could be considered rational or common sense. I know the biological/evolutionary story is that we care about our genes living on through the generations, I don’t know if I buy that for me. Instead, there is something supernatural about hearing them call my name – “Mommy.”
This love is both strengthening – I would do anything for them – but also weakening. They say “let go and let God,” but…wow – how do you do that? What do you do when you feel like your whole world, in this little tiny package, might be falling away from you? I want to be ready, but I’m not. I’m not ready to give my children over to God.