Yesterday afternoon a few of us mommy friends and kids hung out at our neighborhood park. It was an absolutely gorgeous day, full of sunshine, with a slight hint of incoming fall. We let our kiddos explore the playground and "play" with each other, as much as they really know how to play at this age (most of them are 2 or younger).
Marshall is unfortunately still at that stage where he wants to put everything into his mouth. The playground area is made up of little bitty rocks (as opposed to sand). Not ideal for an eight month old.
I was trying to chat with my mommy friends while simultaneously watching Marshall, constantly taking rocks out of his hands as he tried to put them into his mouth. It was a bit nerve-racking.
I tried different places on the playground to distract him from the rocks, which worked temporarily, but he seemed to understand that rocks in the mouth were off-limits, so he kept going back to them. The little willful self coming out already!
Several of us eventually congregated in one corner of the playground near the swingset. Marshall and his buddies were seated on the ground, with a few of us right there beside them. Before I could catch him, Marshall popped a rock into his mouth. He started coughing, and then, the worst sign for a mom...silence and a fearful expression on his face. He was choking. I PANICKED. I grabbed him, did a finger sweep, and could actually feel the rock lodged in his throat. I must've pushed it down because a few seconds later, he was crying. My friend Jenn was right there beside me during the incident and remained calm and reassuring. She even lifted both his arms into the air to help dislodge the rock. Throughout the incident and for a while afterwards, I was shaken up. What if I couldn't have dislodged the rock? In those few horrible seconds, I felt so helpless.
A few hours after the incident, I was still shaken up. The fear and panic was still quite fresh in my mind. Marshall was asleep safe and secure in his crib, but I felt afraid for what was to come.
I know there will probably be worse things then rocks down his throat in the future. How can I protect him from all the horrible things that could happen to him?
The next morning, as I was praying to the Lord about this fear, He reminded me that I CAN'T protect Him from everything. But He can. He is Marshall's maker. He knew him while he was in my womb. He knows the number of hairs on his head. He knows what every day, every minute of Marshall's life will look like. And he knows the number of days Marshall has on this earth. He has given me the blessing of being his mom, but Marshall belongs to Him.
That's when I have to trust Him. I have to remember that 1) God is in control and 2) God is good. I CAN trust him. He's not some horrible ogre that is willing Marshall to get hurt. No, God has a plan for him, "plans to prosper him, not to harm him, plans to give [him] hope and a future."
I know that as a mom, there is that struggle of finding a balance between trying to protect our children from harm, but not overprotecting by preventing them the freedom to explore, to fall down, to get hurt, to be kids. That's when prayer comes in. I have to depend on the Lord for finding that balance and when those fears come again (and I know they will!), I have to say, "Okay God, He is yours. Help me to trust you. Show me how to be a good mom, show me to how to love him and protect him, but allow him the freedom to discover, to love, to fully live.