Wednesday, September 25, 2013

You Come Back, Mommy?

About four months ago my sweet little girl started separation anxiety at a level I've never experienced.

Every time dropping her off for church or small group became a very real, gut - wrenching battle.  Her tears and cries were not that of a fit - throwing toddler, but of a very, very scared little girl who reached desperately for me as I handed her off.  (Luckily 99 / 100 of the check-in workers are sweet friends who have bared with me and loved on me through this.)

Though it was never easy to leave her crying, there was solace knowing only moments after I left she was able to be consoled.  Still, I couldn't shake the desperation she felt.

Then school started.

Our preschool has two 2-year old classrooms, separated by age.  Technically, by three days, sweet girl should be in my class, but it was agreed by all that would probably never work.  Instead, she resides right next door.  In fact, we share a bathroom.  And a chapel time.  And a playground time.  And to say that many days we encounter each other several times would be an understatement.  To say that each time the separation is much more difficult than the first would also be an understatement.  Each time she was more difficult to console.  Each time the desperation seemed greater.

Last Tuesday I broke down.  It was lunchtime, and I had nine children in my class and a sub as a co-teacher (an experienced pre-k teacher whom I worked with last year, who was also sweet girl's teacher last year, so I was thankful).  We had just come in from playground and then had gone to wash hands, both of our classes, in the large bathrooms.  Two moments of separation in a very short time period.   As I walked my class back into their room I could hear her weeping in her classroom, and it continued and continued and continued.  I couldn't eat.  I couldn't think.  All I could do was hear her crying out... wanting me, and me, in the next room, unable to do anything.

I held the tears back for a moment, and then our director, a sweet sweet friend, walked to my door to check on me.  (The whole school, more than likely, could hear the crying child, and our director knows her cry as well as I do.)  And the tears came.  And I wept, on the other side of that one thin wall, with the shrieking little girl in the next room.

I had a talk with my sweet two year old that night, and all it took was one phrase, "I always come back, baby," I told her.  She repeated me, "You always come back, mommy?"  I could hear the question in her voice and see the quiver in the lip... the tears in her eyes.  I reassured her, "Yes, baby, I will come back for you."

This has become a mantra for us.  She will fight back tears, her little quivering lip, being strong and big, and she'll look at me with big blue eyes and say, maybe a little more assuredly each time, "You come back, mommy!"

Tuesday, we got by with {almost} no tears.  And we will take that, friends.

And the Lord whispers.  God tends to continually break me in ways I don't foresee.  This battle, that is still very much raging, has been hard and long and uncomfortable, but in it I've felt this little desperation in myself growing up, a little flame flickering wondering the exact same thing as my daughter, "Daddy, you come back for me? Abba?"  Me, like my little girl, questioning the faithfulness of my Father.

I'm reminded of the strong, faithful promise of our Lord Jesus saying He will come back for us someday, and is with us now.

What a reminder, even when my babies feel alone, I'm always there, I'm always overseeing, and I always, always come back.  How I wish I could express this to them!  How I wish they could understand that I'd fight and give and die for them without a moments thought!

And how much greater is God's love for me!  And how much stronger is God's Word than mine!  He is faithful.  He is good.  His words are true, and even more than me with my own precious children, God is reassuring, "I'm coming back, baby, and I'm closer than you even know, now.  Trust me."  

I, just like my sweet girl, wrestle with the faithfulness and trustworthiness of the one I love, my protector, the one I desperately plead for, not realizing He's. always. right. there.

He's always right there.

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