Friday, February 18, 2011

My Heart, Walking Around

There are all kinds of good descriptions of what it's like to be a mother, but this week I'm remembering what a friend told me when my first child was born. 

For the rest of your life, she said, your heart walks around outside your body.

February has been a stressful month for my Boys. Life is good, but moments are hard, and when I heard one of the Boys on the phone a few days ago I immediately knew he was struggling.

"Can I do something, or do you just need a sympathetic ear?" I asked him. He needed the ear, he told me.

So for the next half hour or so, I tried to not give advice. The pressure he's feeling comes from the high expectations he puts on himself and the high expectations others justifiably have of him, but it's pressure nonetheless and too much pressure hurts.

I want to fix it. I want my child to be happy, and I know there's a part of me that won't be happy again until I know he is as well.

Oddly, I find myself reverting to the instinctive ways I comforted my new babies. "It'll be okay," I told him, my fingers unconsciously patting the arm of the chair as if it were his back. "You can do this."

"Don't think ahead until next week--finish today, then work on tomorrow."

And I give the ultimate mom advice. "Go get a good meal, with protein and something green.You'll feel better if you're eating right."

By the time we finish talking he's laughing at his father's latest shenanigans, and ready to forge on through this rough week.

I mentally rub his back one last time, and remind him, "God's in control."

Then I hang up realizing that if I didn't truly believe that last word I left with him, I would not be able to get through each day, with my heart exposed as it is, out there walking around.

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