A few weeks ago I was telling someone that I am a ‘mother hen’ and Emalynn overheard me and said..”Haha…that rhymes with your name…Jen the Hen”. Yup…that’s me! From the moment I knew I was carrying our first child erring on the side of caution is what I do. Once Emalynn was born I was incredibly neurotic charting everything…what she ate, when she slept, when she had a dirty diaper (color and consistency), when she needed medicine-how much and when, all of her milestones and when she started to move…I followed her EVERYWHERE! God sent two darling and daring little boys to lighten me up…A LOT…and I am so thankful. But there are many ways I am still the mother hen who always does my best to make sure my chicks are safe. It makes my dad nuts to ride with me because I drive a little too defensively for his taste. I even have a little figurine on my fireplace someone gave me! No joke! But something happened this morning that made me realize I can never be too cautious with these little blessings.
I always walk Emalynn to the bus stop in the morning. It’s just down the street but out of my sight. Most neighbors can see if from their homes but I’m too far away. It only takes 5 minutes or so and many people have poked fun at me for it (including my husband) but I just have that little feeling that I need to. Some call it a conscience…I call it the Holy Spirit. So…I do it. Just as we set out to the bus stop this morning I saw a large, windowless white commercial van driving toward the bus stop on our adjacent street. I was much too far away to read anything on it and knew I didn’t recognize it as a FedEx truck or a local business that frequents our development. The van then stopped near all of the elementary-aged children. I had that uneasy parent feeling knowing it was dark, 7:30 a.m. and there were no adults close to those kids. I started to hurry on the snow and ice and I heard one of the kids yell “RUN!” and they all did. The van then attempted to take off and screeched on the ice for at least 10 seconds and I was still at least 4 houses away. I approached the bus stop the kids told me that the man got out of the van and approached them asking them questions. The bus pulled up and I was so grateful that everyone got on safe and sound and began my mission to alert the other parents.
This incidient while still being investigated scared those kids and it scared us parents. It may have simply been a lost driver. He never should have gotten out of his vehicle and approached children…let alone at 7:30 a.m. in the dark! One thing we tell our kids to protect them from preditors in addition to yelling as loud as they can when they are scared is that adults should never need help from a child and to say “I’ll go get my mom or dad.” It woke us all up to realize we need to be more aware…we need to be present…and we need to be grateful. It’s moments like this when you realize those little prayers you say for your children every night for protection are answered. That God’s overwhelming grace is covering our children when we are not with them…when we aren’t aware…when we don’t even realize we need it.
We live in a fantastic neighborhood…one you might call “safe” where our neighbors are friends and their kids know they are always welcome here. We let our children run and play and we trust and look out for one another. But we are not always “safe” because we live in a fallen world full of sin that can bombard at any second. I put my precious little girl on the bus everyday and it takes a lot of trust. Sure I trust the bus driver, the school system, the transportation department, the teacher’s aids to get her to and from the bus and her teachers with whom care for her all day…but mostly…I trust God. She is His. He gave her to me to begin with and I must daily, hourly, minute-by-minute sometimes give her back to Him. I can do my best to keep her safe…but she is safer in His arms than in my own.
Am I still a mother hen? Guilty! I’m getting more relaxed but this morning made me realize that listening to that still small voice is what I always need to do when it comes to my children. I must be disciplined and diligent, intentional and in-tune with what is going on not just with my children but all of those around me. Doesn’t it seem like when we look the other way that’s when disaster can strike? I’m finding more and more that there is no time to take it easy when it comes to parenting.
I know that those things we don’t even want to think about can happen to children…even to those whose parents who are much better at being cautious and overprotective than I am. I can barely even watch the news anymore without my heart breaking for those families whose worst nightmares have become reality…for whom I pray for. But I can’t let those things make me a paranoid worry wart…something I’ve been know to be! God gives me grace for today…for right now…not for the what-if’s, the could-be’s or the worst nightmares in life. I simply have to trust, pray and be obedient to whatever God tells me to whenever He tells me to do it…it’s all I can do. I believe that God has a plan for each and every child, mine included. I love these little ones more than I can even describe…so much it hurts. Yet God loves them even more. It’s fine that people call me “Jen the mother hen” with all my little chicks in a row…I don’t mind a bit…especially after today. I am so far very from where I should be. That’s why I am overwhemlingly thankful that our Heavenly Father has them in His hands.