You sit there smiling, nonchalantly as your sweet babe runs, busy as can be. Carrying on a conversation as though you are not dying inside. Struggling to breath as the stress mounts beneath your chest. Focusing all of your energy on containing the panic that is rising from within. Your head recognizes the laughter that is free, unbridled energy. Yet your spirit clenches as it they were running wild & nakey through the very public playground. Every glance you notice & speak upon yourself as judgment. Comments of energy you place over your parenting as lack of control. You can feel the tense spread from your chest as it seeps through your veins straight to your heart.
Casually you give the awkward laugh as you pretend to listen to every word they share, all the while glancing to watch your monster play. As we sit there holding it back with all of our might, our eyes lock & they know. That smirk we all fear creeps slowly across their face as you whisper, “Please God no”. And down comes that wall in an outpour of all your fears. A meltdown of tired, the crying from the hard, screaming in frustration. They let it all go; these sweet little’s filled to the brim of emotion they have yet to understand. The battle to breath manifests in an internal panic attack as you scoop up the flailing arms dramatic in every way. Walking as fast as you can from earshot of anyone who may have raised “perfect babes”. As swiftly as you move, that ocean of self proclaimed judgment comes pouring down, drowning you in the lies of untruth.
Let’s pause time for but a moment. Freeze the world, to analyze the reality of it all. If we were to open our eyes upon the horizon of this battlefield we would see that we are not alone.
“Then Elisha prayed, “O LORD, open his eyes and let him see!” The LORD opened the young man’s eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire.” 2 Kings 6:17
For every mother of any babe who’s energy far outweighs her even on the best days stands solemnly beside you. We are blind to the fact that this judgment is self-proclaimed. Spoken upon us by the enemy, by ourselves, not the others that sit sweetly across the park bench. More often than not, there is not a soul in that place of public that has blinked an eye in your direction. A breath of judgment has not left the lips of even the furthest of strangers. That blank stare is not one of disbelieve, but rather of amazement in all that you are accomplishing within that moment of real motherhood. Smiling eyes are not filled with haughty sympathy but rather the reminder of the shoes that we wore to the bones not long ago.
Together we must come. As we find ourselves gathering every ounce of courage before our feet shuffle out the door, diaper bags mounting our shoulders. We breathe in deep, our hearts chanting Hail Mary’s as walk into the world. Extend your words of love to the ones you know will worry long into the night of every interaction that played throughout the day. Arm yourselves with the villages of motherhood, fellowship of truth speakers & the prayers of mamas who’ve gone before. Through the rawness of your open heart shared, they will point you to the place of peace, truth of the father & the greatness of your mothering.
“Teach me how to live, O LORD. Lead me along the right path, for my enemies are waiting for me. Do not let me fall into their hands. For they accuse me of things I’ve never done; with every breath they threaten me with violence. Yet I am confident I will see the LORD’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living. Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD.” Psalm 27:11-14
So let them run wild, for their hearts race with adventure & their lungs breath deep the excitement of discovery. This freedom you give is a gift of self-sacrifice in comfort. Never will they know of the battle you press back inside, but always will they know of the beauty of the independence they were allowed to run with.
“And the walls became the world all around.”
Maurice Sendak – Where The Wild Things Are