“I love you, Jeffrey.”
I could see his pale face squinting up in the rearview mirror. Tears overflowed, and his small voice choked.
“No, you don’t! You would trade me for…for three buttons!”
This smallest child, so easily bruised, had just made himself into an inanimate object.
I wanted to wrap my arms around him, console him, reassure him that a button could never replace this living breathing boy that I love.
But I was driving. And I was tired.
It has been this way since school began. Emotional outbursts. Pushing limits.
Why does he do that? Oldest son asks me this morning after Jeffrey has been deposited safely on the school grounds.
Everyone needs a safe person, I say. You know, someone you can say anything to? I guess that’s me for Jeffrey. He’s still adjusting to the new schedule. He’s tired and a little stressed. He knows that he can say anything to me and I will still love him.
Sheepish grin spreads across face in rearview.
So, does that mean I can treat you any way I want?
No, that’s not what it means. We need to help him learn to control those emotions a little better, that’s all.
Oldest son hops out at his school.
And a new day begins.
Now, I sit here, and ponder these things.
How to gracefully help smallest son through this transition?
Three days ago we looked out our window to see two little fawns grazing in the meadow. Their youth was evident in the white spots sprinkled across their backs. Beautiful, they helped themselves to grasses and fallen apples, mindless of their spellbound audience. I searched with my eyes for their mother, but she was not to be seen.
This worried me, and I put out some goodies for them along the fence line, in case they returned.
This morning, who should be standing in my yard but mamma doe. Her soft brown eyes searched mine as I stared through the window at her.
She was there all along.
As I step away from the window, I think of those two sweet fawns. Frolicking, exploring, experiencing their world. With mamma hidden a short distance away. Always there within reach just in case she is needed.
But far enough away that they learn what independence is.
In my Bible study this week (What Happens When Women Walk in Faith by Lysa TerKeurst), I was reminded that God never leaves me. Whatever adventure or trial I face, He is right there with me. Perhaps I cannot see Him. Perhaps I cannot even feel Him. But I can be assured of His presence.
Just as that mother deer watches over her babies, God watches over me.
And my children.
I need to have the faith, and the courage to let my little guys figure some things out on their own.
Waiting behind the apple tree is not an easy place for me. I’d rather stow away in their backpacks and jump out the moment a challenge arises.
They are in His hands, and I will gratefully leave them there. In the mean time, I will thank Him that I am their safe person…that they trust me to love them no matter how ugly they are to me at times.
The treats I leave by the fence will remind them that I am here; sweet words and hugs, gentle admonitions, and understanding.
But I don’t think I’ll leave any buttons.