My daughter said five words to me. They hurt. They hurt, not because they were intended to injure me. The words hurt because it said something about me as a mother — that was true.
I get busy. I know — all mothers get busy; however sometimes I get so busy that I forget to look around me. I look at my children but I don’t REALLY look at them. Does that make sense? I see so far down the future that I sometimes forget to love the moment. My husband calls me a whirlwind. And it’s true: I get places fast but boy, can I leave a wake of destruction behind me.
This particular day I was whirlwinding (I don’t care if that isn’t a real word). My husband was working late and I was hanging out for the moment the children were asleep. I rushed through dinner, bath, story-time and finally got the children into bed. I was tired. I was cranky. (A state I’m quite familiar with). If I was to be truly honest, I would say I had been whirlwinding for at least a week prior to this night.
I’d finally put each child in bed and flopped on my own, face down, when my girl, with big brown eyes and soft pink lips came to my bedroom.
“Why aren’t you in bed!” I was cross.
She started to cry. And then she said five words. Just five words.
“I just want some comfort.”
There was something in the way she said it. There was no intent of manipulation or coy; rather it was a simple request from a child to a mother.
What sort of mother am I that my child has to come and beg me for comfort?
I was hurt. I was hurt because in that moment, I had failed and I knew it. Yes, I’m sure I had held each of my children that day but had I actually offered comfort? Comfort requires something given of ourselves doesn’t it? Any one can hug but to actually give comfort requires an invisible transfer of strength; one body to another.
“Comfort requires an invisible transfer of strength; one body to another.”
So I stopped. I grabbed her in my arms. I said sorry. I prayed. I looked into her big brown eyes and kissed her soft pink lips. I gave her comfort. I held her and then we fell asleep until later, Daddy came home and carried the sleeping child to bed. In that moment of failure and in the realisation of redemption, I gave comfort and strength. And as I was giving it I was getting it right back. I needed comfort too.
I’d love to tell you that my constant whirlwinding hasn’t happened again but that would be a lie. I often fall into the trap of busyness. I’m so grateful to God for giving me a daughter who is in tune with what she needs. Because often what my children need is exactly what I need too. I just don’t know it.