It doesn’t seem to matter how long we parent a child. We need to know if we’ve done a good job.
As a mother, I needed to tally my parenting journey with this little being who, having flitted through our lives so briefly, would change every aspect of who we now were.
I’d already reviewed her existence in my womb. Now I reviewed my activities while pregnant.
If emotion can affect the hormones passed through the placenta, then Wendy had received only those generated from peace and joy.
A sudden recollection came to mind. In Shakespeare’s day, I’d read, pregnant women weren’t allowed to attend plays depicting tragedy. It was said that their distress might affect the fetus in a negative way. Was that true? If so, Wendy had been safe from toxic emotion. I had felt no distress during her time in the womb.
But back to my parenting assessment.
I had eaten well.
I had exercised.
I had gained a lot of weight. Was that harmful? I didn’t think so. All my appointments had shown I was healthy.
Pregnancy reviewed, I moved to my time of parenting.
No, that wasn’t true. Her daddy had been with her. He’d accompanied her by ambulance to the University Hospital. He’d spoken to her. Touched her. Stood guard over her.
Okay. No mommy, but definitely a daddy.
Pain? Yes. A wee babe, she was subjected to surgery in her first hours of life.
My Wendy-baby, I’m so sorry if you had pain.
Love? Oh my, yes. Relatives arrived, one after another, came by her bed, spoke to her, beamed at her existence.
More love? Yes. Yes. Yes. Mommy and Daddy now arrived, spoke, touched, marvelled at how precious she was.
Peace? Yes. While we may have responded with anguish, the Lord protected both Wendy and us from succumbing to desolation. We sorrowed, but were calm throughout those hours. Was that because we were exhausted, numb? Maybe. But that was okay. Wendy didn’t know a parent’s anxiety, fear or anger. So peace was paramount in her experience as a daughter.
Worth? No question. Wendy had value. Her position as one born into the human race, loved by God and family, elevated her to great status.
Suffering? I don’t think so. Her passing was gentle. Held in our arms, she reached out to us with her eyes, and then, when the time was right, she reached to the Lord who had made her life possible.
Did the length of that life matter? To our hearts—yes—absolutely. But to her? I didn’t think so. I had no sense of a wasted life, of potential not achieved. I knew how difficult life could be. Wendy was spared the unpredictable, sometimes traumatic turns we who live our three-score-and-ten so often encounter.
As a parent, I could feel I’d done okay. Wendy was gone, but I was at peace.
Join me next week for Ch. 24 Tissues vs. Hankies
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