So, yesterday, this guy MIGHT have eaten a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (yes, just a few days post 6 months). He has been oh-so-mobile since his 5 month birthday (he can belly-scoot across the floor almost faster than I can walk it) and is attracted by all things shiny, savory, and electronic.
Buttons on the roomba, like a moth to light.
And now apparently, leftover PB&J on a picnic blanket is an innocuous infant feast.
Both parents within arms reach. He just eating away, undetected.
There was a time (uh-hem, think first-time parents…) that we would have scoffed at such an oversight. Really, how could any respectable, half-decent, responsible parent let their infant child close enough to a sandwich that he could take hold of it and get a huge bite before anyone is the wiser?? We laughed it off on the walk home from the park, calling ourselves out for our audaciousness of past. And, reminding ourselves again of the complexity of this role of parenthood, even in the simplest of moments.
The other day, I heard news of a friend of a friend whose 4 year old drowned at a party at a public pool. Life guard on duty. He had run up to his mom and asked to take off his floaty vest. She unsnapped it and gave it no second thought. This story has run over and over in my mind. It leaves a knot deep in my stomach, even now. It wrenches my heart with such force it brings tears to my eyes. It evokes deep God-thoughts and beckoning for the Good. I cannot imagine the anguish, the torment. This mom, no different from me. The haunting.
It is too trite a lesson to savor the moments. Or to be careful around water. Or to remember our days are numbered. Rather, to me, as the friend of a friend of a friend, it is a lesson of trust.
I can so easily hang on too tightly. To the little lives that have been graciously entrusted to me. I can so easily cling to my own responsibility, wisdom and reasoning. I can so easily hold to my own rules, standards, and boundaries. And I think they are foolproof. And I think they are safe. But, in a real, heart-beating, gut-wrenching, sorrow-wrapped story like this, I remember it is not always up to me.
I don’t want to learn lessons like these, because honestly, they scare me. Are thought-millings like these lessons for my future? To prepare me for something to come. To practice all is grace. To practice every bitter thing is sweet.
But even in that panic, I have to let go. To trust. To breath deeply that each life can bring Glory, both in the joyousness and in the brokenness.
Yesterday we noticed the toddler-plate-turned-buffet before his bite turned to an airway blockage, and we learned he doesn’t have a peanut allergy. So our story turned to an incredulous, laughter-filled moment of wide-eyed disbelief and a wanting 6 month old. For now, we’ll take that as a gift, a reminder of the complexity of parenthood, and an opportunity to trust for the future.