We head toward the library, but take the long way. He falls asleep in the car, looking so peaceful. When we arrive, he startles awake and immediately I know it's going to be another fight.
“Calvin, let’s go to the library.”
“Come on buddy, you can pick out some movies.”
I pick him up out of the car seat; he’s wiggling around like a slippery octopus trying to fit into a mesh bag. I realize I can’t carry him and the fifty-pound bag of books I need to return. When I set him down he bolts away. I throw my bag down and lunge after him. It takes a minute but he calms.
I am beaten. A long season of parenting that feels more challenging, busier than ever, and never-ending. I decide I can’t fight. I stand in the parking lot and cry.
Photo by Simon Buchou on Unsplash
A man is also in the parking lot, he has two dogs, golden retrievers, and he’s heading into the library. I know why. It’s the weekly program in which kids read to the dogs. It boosts their confidence. My kids love it.
“Calvin, let’s go see some dogs, they’re going in the library, remember?”
“No!!” The death stare. The “I-hate-Mommy” look.
Tears. Mommy tears.
His big sister kneels next to him.
“Calvin, let’s just go see the cute doggies…”
He softens. We walk in. He’s not completely convinced I’m trustworthy, that the movies and dogs will really be there. He still makes that look that says, “You’re mean.”
After a little while, he becomes his bubbly self again. We sit with the dogs and read; he even receives a “paw-tograph” from the dogs.
Sometimes, I am the toddler. I can’t see what’s more than five feet or five minutes in front of me, and I kick, scream, and curse the one who’s holding my hand, pulling me away from danger, handing me everything. I stomp and shout “No!” so loudly I don’t notice the sign of what’s to come, barely believing the voice of someone coming to my level, speaking to me slowly, softly, and kindly.
But then I arrive to where I am going, to where He was leading me all along, and I look back and think, “Thank you. I’m sorry I fought you on this. It was for my good. It’s not the way I anticipated, but it’s the way it was meant to be.”
I wonder if God stands in a parking lot and cries in the meantime.