When I Feel Weak

N, our two-year-old, burned his hand on our stove last week. I’d been fixing dinner early that day and he was being my little kitchen helper, mixing and measuring ingredients into the bowl at the table. The burner had been turned off only minutes before, and out of the corner of my eye I saw N pull the stool over. Everything was in slow motion as I dropped the knife I had been cutting with and rushed over to my little boy. It was too late. The palm of his hand had only rested on the hot burner for a millisecond before I grabbed him up, but the deed was done. Immediately under the running tap water blisters began to form. His tears dripped into the sink and pulled at my heart as I cursed myself for not getting to him sooner.

Later that day as he took a nap, I called my sister and cried. I spilled out my heart. I felt weak. I felt like I had failed him yet again. I was the adult, the one in charge, but I felt so inadequate, so lacking, so incredibly weak. His little hand bandaged in gauze, his sad cries played over and over in my mind. “Ouch! Hurt, Mommy. This hand, it hurt.”

Being a mom, being a parent, I’m convinced is one of the hardest jobs in the world. Not because of the late nights, not because of the endless dirty laundry. It really has absolutely nothing to do with the constant demands from little people still lacking patience or the dishes that pile high every night or the diapers that constantly need changed. When I became a mother I expected all of that. I knew full well what the job description entailed. What no one had warned me about, what makes it harder than anything else we do with our lives, is none of that. From the minute we found out we were expecting our first little boy I felt like my heart had been taken from me and would never be given back. I experienced emotions unlike I had ever felt before, from the most extreme joy to the most intense worry and pain. Their hurt is mine, more strong in my heart than any pain I have felt for myself. Their disappointment, their excitement, their successes and failures. Their happiness gives me gladness I never knew could be felt. THAT. That is what makes this job the hardest. Our emotions run in extremes and rest on these little ones.

IMG_1010On that particular day I felt weak. I hate feeling so weak. I wanted more than anything to take away his sadness, to put on a magic salve or give it a kiss and make it all go away. I felt like millions of mothers feel every day. So often we feel like we have to be strong, but we’re afraid there’s no strength to muster. We want to put on a brave face, tell them everything will be fine, but inside we’re scared too and want nothing more than to stroke their hair and take it all onto ourselves. It’s a hard job: wishing, hoping, loving, feeling and emotionally giving our all. Loving someone so intensely.

IMG_0997I’m so thankful for a Heavenly Father that knows the emotions I feel. He knows better than I do myself. He understands that complete joy, he sorrows in our sadness. Some days I feel so weak, like when my little two-year-old burns his hand on the stove. But I know with His divine help my weakness can become strong. I know because of Him, because of his love, I can pour out my soul to him and I can pick myself back up. Because of Him I can take on this tough job with strength. Because of Him I can hold my little boy in my arms and reassure him that everything will be okay. Because He is there for both of us, always, no matter what. I’m so thankful that I have been given the incredible responsibility to love and care for these little ones, and I’m thankful He will be by my side when I feel the emotional load of it all is weighing me down.

Because I’m human, because I’m a mother, I often feel weak. I often feel like I fall short. But I know that because of Him I can be filled with strength. And when you feel overwhelmed with the emotional load, I know you can too. He loves us. He will make up the difference.

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Categories: Motherhood | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “When I Feel Weak

  1. They always say “You only have to turn your back for a second and…” They are not kidding. A second is all it takes. We have had many accidents in our home. I know this feeling that you felt and still feel. It is a slow motion, horrible almost deer in headlights feeling when you see something like this. We are only human. We are not perfect and we cannot have our eyes on out children every second, no matter how hard we try. Don’t be too hard on yourself. We have all been there.

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  2. Sheila

    Well said, Chelsi. I am glad you have Mindy to turn to.

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  3. Shelley

    Your comments ran deep inside for me. All my kids grown and living their lives — but from tiny to toddler, to teen to twenty and beyond… life has a never ending barrage of things that can hurt and burn and even leave scars. Some events are caught in innocents and are a product of curiosity or accident… and some events seem like our sweet little mini me’s say ” hmmm… they said it would hurt, but let me see if I do this, will it Reeealy hurt — I just want to see…”
    No matter how small or big — I have experienced my heart my drop to depths I never thought it could possibly go. And man….. I wish I could wrap them all in a fluffy cloud and …. I wish if I said ” please be careful — that will hurt”… they could look at me and say ” no problem mom, I’ll listen to you” and if I said ….” This looks like a good path….” and the reply could be ” You got it mom, great choice! “…… My world could hold a lot more happy sighs and comfort.
    But reality is much more tough and challenging.
    And I will say that it gladly holds much more blessings in store for us when we persevere through the painful moments.

    But on a lighter note….. there are moments where as a parent, you experience a painful event for your child ( well…. not totally detriment to their health or happiness….but just fleeting )…. that you are allowed to see past the pain and sometimes smile.

    The story of Brandon and the Christmas lights :
    One Christmas season , as a single mom in a small apartment, I looked at the pretty lights that I had outlined my front window in… and smiled. Brandon looked at the window as a 2 year old and looked at me with the biggest and cutest smile and said ” Preeety lights!” My heart melted. ” Ya Brandon, aren’t they pretty – for Christmas!” And he smiled and echoed …” Chrisssssmass”. His eyes so big and wondrous.
    He went on his way to watch the TV as I went into the bathroom to fix my hair and get ready for work.
    Literally as quick as I picked up a brush to run through my hair – I heard a scream … which in a half a second, I dropped my brush and leaped to the next room.
    Brandon was standing there with tears in his eyes and sticking up his pointer finger…. His face was not stressed or distraught — although my heart was trying to recover from the electric shock of worry that had just passed through my body — He was calm but teary eyed…..
    It took me just a half of a second to realize that this little mesmerized boy was touching all the little lights back down to the place where they went into the wall.
    And with a straight face and his pointer finger in the air…. calmly said — : “ouuuuchh”. ( Like the little alien friend in the move E.T. )
    Thankfully relief coursed through me quickly and then instantaneously…. I felt a chuckle welling up inside me… which actually came out my mouth … and with a big huge smile, I scooped up the little knuckle head and gave him the biggest hug all the while enjoying the small scenario of myself replaying back in my mind. ” Ohhh.. baby… ouch— yes… No touch… ouch… Let me kiss….. ok — that’s better.”
    The worst part of the event was how I felt that panic and pain and worry.
    As I leaped in and quickly looked at him – I thought — ” oh my goodness.” ” poor baby”… ” he must have stuck his finger in there”… “silly kid “…… ” he looks like ET standing there” “…. “whew, he’s ok”… ” i should have told him ‘no touch'”….. “he really does look like ET right now”….” dang, its my fault”…” I’m gonna have to unplug them when i leave the room”…….” (giggle)…he even sounded like ET” … all those thoughts in less than a tiny moment all flushed in my mind…

    As I put him back down – he went merrily on his way. Tears quickly dried and wiped away, but the memory of a painful “millisecond” turned to a smile a half second later will always be etched in my mind.
    Thankfully, Heavenly Father allows us relief and occasionally humor when we feel the most difficult and painful experiences….. even if the pain is only just a blip of a moment…. But -and ESPECIALLY when we endure something harder and longer – ( but that is another story ) 🙂

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  4. Just beautiful, Chelsi. Thank you for this reminder!

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