Sipping from the Cup of Motherhood

Jul 6, 2010

I recently spent some time with a nine year old girl, a child I would adopt as my own in a heartbeat if she didn't already have a mother who loves her. In the course of our time together, she got something in her eye, some lotion or something. Doesn't really matter what it was, it just stung.

So, there we were, away from home and my first aid kit, with nothing but a bottle of water and the clothes we were wearing. I did the thing that doesn't really help and hurts almost as much as the stinging eye pain. I poured water in her eyes and wiped with my t-shirt. While she cried. And my heart broke.

This child, completely trusting, let me hurt her to help her, to induce tears to relieve the pain. And I'm standing there drawing all my limited strength not to break down in tears next to her. While she's just begging me to make it stop, please make it stop.

Don't panic. Keep calm and carry on. Whatever.

There is no pain so great as your heart breaking like this. I hurt a child. It was necessary in the emergency, and it was awful, just awful. I love her, and I hurt her.

The funny (terrible-wonderful) thing is, a few minutes later, she's all better and back to her sunny, happy self. Like it never happened.

But it did happen. And I don't know that I'll ever quite recover from the experience. I don't know that my heart is big enough or strong enough to do the kind of work it takes and to live with the kind of pain that comes with being someone's mommy.

Seriously, how do you moms walk around with your heart out there all day, every day? You are my new heros. Because THAT? That takes guts.

4 Response to "Sipping from the Cup of Motherhood"

Jeff Says:

One time little 3 year old Lily ran onto the deck without her shoes on and ended up with a splinter buried deep into her foot. I still remember her trusting but uncomprehending eyes as I had to dig it out so it wouldn't get infected. She half laughed as I did it but I know it hurt like hell. After that moment, she never fully trusted that she was perfectly safe with me and that I could always protect her from pain and would never cause pain. I hate that she learned that from me.

kim Says:

I remember having to SIT on my youngest, as grandma dug a small splinter from his hand. It hurt him so much more than it had to and I was crushed! Then, of course there are shots... 22, to be exact, before they turn four. You have to hold them down for each one and the nurses are never as kind as you would like them to be. They roll off the couch or tumble down the stairs and you, you feel like you will die, but each time they get back up and move along, forgetting it ever happened. There is an analogy of God in here somewhere, as he lets each of us get up and brush ourselves off after each tumble, being there if we need Him to comfort us. I would take the pains of motherhood any day, just to experience the joys. :)

knighton Says:

I admire both of you.

Pammer Says:

And sometimes we appear brave, but we are not.

But for the record? You would be a terrific mommy.