I was sitting on my living room floor, holding my nearly nine month old baby boy. He couldn’t roll over, sit up, crawl, pull up to stand, cruise along the furniture, or anything babies his age typically do. I had never heard him laugh, or coo, or do anything but cry weakly – and even that was a rare occurrence. On my counter sat a packet of information on parenting infants with hearing loss, a pamphlet on infant massage techniques, and a book on therapeutic play. I hadn’t found the courage to read the information yet. Just the sight of the new material was almost sickening. How in the world was I supposed to add to my already staggering list of therapies, appointments, medical procedures, and routine care, not to mention the responsibility of a household and a three year old little boy? All I could do was cradle my baby and weep, trying so hard to communicate to him that I loved him, not even sure he understood.
The doctors, specialists, nurses, and therapists all say the same thing. William has a wonderful, committed family. They have every confidence that we will do our best for him, and that he will thrive. But can they see my weariness? Do they understand the burden of guilt that bears down on me when I pause to rest, shower, or even eat? If William is awake, shouldn’t I be relating with him in some way? I haven’t done his brushing protocol in a while. What about oral stim? Can he take that right now? Some days, I almost forget that he’s a baby – my child. William is my patient. My project. So when I remember that he needs my affection too, sometimes I draw a blank. How do I relate with him, if we aren’t working on one of his therapies? Yes, I’m committed to William. But I’m also exhausted. I would move heaven and earth to give him the very best shot at a normal, fulfilled life. But some days, I can’t cheerfully work through one more exercise. It’s just too much.
It’s on those days, when the weariness sets in, and I’m overcome with guilt, that I must remember this:
I am not God.
I am not omnipotent.
When I try to control every aspect of William’s development, and obsess over my total involvement in his progress, to the exclusion of everything else, I am playing God. When I do not allow myself to rest, when I cut out needful relationships with my older son and my husband, for the sake of William’s future life, I am grasping for omnipotence. I am pretending I can do without the rest God graciously gives. I am fighting against my own God-ordained limitations.
“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary.” Isaiah 40:28
God is in control of my son’s development. He knows exactly what William needs to progress properly. When I remember that, I can rest in Him. I can take those therapies one step at a time. If I don’t get to all of them, I chalk it up to human frailty, and leave the rest in God’s hands.
I suspect that my anxiety about my son is mirrored in others. The single parent who feels like the kids are suffering because mom or dad has to work extra to make ends meet. The pastor’s wife who wants to meet every single need that is presented to her. The student who has a heavy class load and two part-time jobs, but can’t seem to pay that bill no matter how much they scrimp. The stay at home mom who is constantly berating herself for not keeping a perfectly tidy house or feeding her children home-cooked dinners every day. You’re committed, but you’re also exhausted.
Can I say this? We can’t do it all. We aren’t meant to. Otherwise why would we have to trust God?
And you know something? God doesn’t drop the ball. He never has. He never will.
“Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28