Sunday, October 12, 2014

Carry Me: The Physical and Emotional Demands of Parenthood

My toddler’s in a “carry me” stage.  He wants me to carry him while we are at the grocery store, while I’m trying to get dressed, while I clean, while I eat, you name it.  Anyone who has a young child knows it can be quite difficult to put on a pair of pants or cook a meal with a toddler clinging to your leg.  

Yet, although it’s hard not to have any personal space, I’ll carry him, because I enjoy those long hugs and know they won’t be so readily available in the future.  Although my arms may be tired, I enjoy holding him and soaking up his love. 

Did you know that wolf spiders carry their young on their back? By attaching the egg sac to her spinnerets, the mother is able to carry the sac around. Then, when the eggs hatch, the spiderlings climb onto their mom’s back. She carries them around until they develop. Spiders can lay “between 2 and 1000 eggs” so that’s a pretty big job for some spider moms. 

As parents, we are accustomed to physically carrying our children. However, when they are sad, we “carry” their tears in our hearts.  We carry their fears, their hopes, their disappointment.  Sometimes, I wish I could transfer their trials from their bodies to mine so I could carry it for them.  At the same time, I know trials provide a growing experience.  I can be there to soothe them but I won’t always be there to absorb the brunt of the fall, the pain of the name calling, or the initial impact of a loss.

When my son was first born, I carried him so much that I started having back spasms. One day, I was walking out of the grocery store when I had a horrible back spasm that sent me to the ground.  I had both kids with me and somehow managed to get both of them into the car and drive home. When I went to the doctor, I couldn’t take a muscle relaxer because I was nursing.   At that moment, I wished I had invested in a carrier that supported my back better.  Lesson learned.   

Despite my best efforts, I know I can’t carry all of the physical and emotional demands that parenting requires. This is why I am so lucky to have a Savior who carries me, who carries all of us, every step of the way. When I feel weak, I know He is strong.   And in my weakest hour, that’s what keeps me going.