fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
I wasn’t there, so I can’t say for certain.
Unlike her older brother, she didn’t bother to wait for my arrival before making her arrival into the world.
But I suspect she came out kicking and yelling at the doctor, “No! I do it myself.”
At least that has been her attitude ever since.
Two years later, she is a mere 33 inches of absolute adorable. Rebellious brown curls frame her mischievous face; from the back they look like they haven’t met with a brush for weeks. (I know better. I’ve combed through the tangles myself only to turn around and see that she’s rolling on the floor, or standing on her head on the couch, or using a bucket as a hat and voila! they are back.) She has I’m-thinking-of-something-to-get-into-sparkly brown eyes and plump little legs and arms. Her deep, country-singer sounding voice and verbal skills are so enchanting for a 24 month old that I often engage in conversation just to hear her talk.
“Caeris, do you like the heart stickers?”
“Yes, I do. I do l like the heart stickers.” She grins and looks up at me. “Do you like the heart stickers, Granmma? Do you want some?” Gah! If you haven’t been around a just-turned-two-year-old recently, you might not realize she is quite the conversationalist.
And she is fiercely independent.
Wants to do everything by herself.
Yeah, I’m kinda smitten with my granddaughter.
But I want to caution her about that independence, make her aware that it is okay to get help. And I want her to be grateful for the Unseen Hand that is helping her. And not just her Momma’s, holding down the sheet.
We were at Children’s Hospital last Sunday.
Just a few days prior, my daughter and I had met up at the pediatrician’s office, because Caeris had been running a fever for a couple of days, but was mostly her bouncy, charming (bossy) self. I stayed with her brothers in the waiting room while her mom took her in to get checked out. The doctor seemed to think it was just a passing virus, so we weren’t concerned.
But by Sunday, our little bundle of energy and delight wasn’t. She was listless and still had a fever. She threw up. Since my son-in-law was in the mountains on a camping trip, I accompanied my daughter to Urgent Care. When they took Caeris’ temperature it was nearly 105 degrees despite Tylenol earlier so they sent us to Children’s Hospital.
Caeris endured an unpleasant catheter and abdominal x-rays, but a combination of Motrin and Tylenol had brought the fever down, and she had perked up a bit. She was charming doctors and nurses with her chattering.
“You no check my ears!” She declared emphatically when a doctor returned to give us an update.
The doctor laughed. “No, I’m not going to check your ears, Sweetie.” She looked at us and sighed. “The urine test is inconclusive. The x-rays show everything there looks perfect. We are just waiting on the ultra sound. I’m not sure what is taking so long, but we want to look at her appendix, since she is complaining of pain,” she told us before leaving again. We had been in the small room for hours, and all three of us were getting restless.
“I wanna go on the couch.” Caeris pointed at the hospital bed.
“Okay, mommy will help you.” Alyssa reached down to pick up her daughter.
“I do it myself!” We watched, skepticism mirrored in both our eyes, while Caeris tried unsuccessfully to climb on top of the bed that was raised a good bit higher than she could possibly lift her dimpled little legs onto. Undeterred, she grabbed at the sheets for leverage, but they weren’t attached and merely slid off. So did Caeris. Again her mom offered a helping hand. Again, Caeris refused and declared independence. Finally, it dawned on Alyssa – she held the sheets down and Caeris, with great determination and lots of sound effects, managed to pull herself up and onto the bed. Eyes shining with victory, she grinned at us. “I did it myself!”
You did indeed, Caer-Bear.
(With a little help.)
I hugged her and smiled at Alyssa.
We tout independence like it is the greatest thing. And sometimes it is; in fact, often it is our goal. We don’t want our kids (or ourselves) to be clingy, needy, can’t-do-anything-for-themselves little beings. Yes, independence is good.
Except when it isn’t.
We were created for relationship.
Life is a community event, a concert, not some solo gig even if the latter feels safer, easier, more comfortable, more noteworthy.
God created us for community.
There is no shame in getting help, in working together.
Yeah, I’m preaching to the choir here.
Too many times I’ve tried to raise my own pudgy little legs atop a “couch” that I wasn’t willing to admit I couldn’t reach on my own, brushing away the hands that offered to help.
I’ve thrown more than one temper tantrum, declaring “I do it myself!”
So I just want to take a moment today to say thanks to all of those who have given me a hand throughout my life – family, friends, teachers, co-workers…that I haven’t properly thanked before. You know, the whole lot of you who have helped get me here.
But ultimately I want to remind those of us, who place our trust in God, that His hand is always there guiding us and gifting us, strengthening, helping, upholding – even when we think we are “doing it ourselves.”
Given my recent track record, most of you probably think I’m going to end up deleting this post.
(In fact, after receiving a few e-mails and other messages, I will be reposting I Will Always be The Woman at the Well.)
I’ve been battling the whole writing thing.
I finally understand that sure, I have always loved to write, it’s something I’ve done off and on for fun since middle school.
But I never really wanted to be a writer.
The former is done merely for my pleasure, because I am a lover of words, because it’s something I do in my head even if I don’t have pen or paper or laptop around.
The latter? It is riskier. It involves sharing. And I kinda quit sharing after I realized it isn’t always safe.
But I’ve decided to be braver.
I’ll be telling you more in upcoming posts, and you can pray for me if you like, as I declare myself a writer…and once again begin sharing, even if it doesn’t feel safe 🙂
Grateful for this wonderful life,
Marie with a 🙂
(PS Sweet Caeris is on the road to recovery and back to her energetic and charming little self!)