There are some moments of parenthood in which you are suddenly struck with the realization that there is no one more heroic to your child than you. There is no one they know who could come close to your genius, your humor, your success. I remember having those typical “My dad can beat up your dad” conversations with my fellow 4-year-olds back in the day. To believe that there could be any father faster or smarter or more handsome than my own was beyond me. Of course, I know that I need to relish this time of my own perfection in my son’s eyes. I know, after years of firsthand experience in the lives of teenagers, exactly what they think and say about their parents. It’s a short jump from 3-year-old snuggles to 13-year-old eye rolls.
So, today I will be thankful for this past Saturday night when, my son (who has had some trouble lately falling asleep—too dark!—too scary!—too loud!), called me in again after I had kissed every stuffed animal (and plastic rocket) in his bed…twice. I was fed up with his tears and told him it was time to stop crying for me. From then on, I said, if he needed to talk to somebody, it needed to be Jesus.
“Because Jesus sleeps with me in my bed?”
“Yep, and he helps you feel better when you’re sad and protects you when you’re scared.”
August thought for a moment and looked at me with utter earnestness: “Mommy, why aren’t you Jesus?”
“Because I’m not God.”
“Why aren’t you God?”
“Because I'm just a mommy. I’m just a person. I can’t do the things God can do.”
Hmmmmm. He still needed a few more hugs to be convinced that Jesus might be enough of a friend to fall asleep next to. Of course, a warm body would have been much easier to accept than a spiritual concept. But, isn’t that always the case?
However August felt about his sleeping situation, I was relieved by his question. As much as there are moments of parenthood when you glimpse your greatness in the eyes of your child, more often there are moments when you painfully recognize your utter failure, your need to be rescued before you make a terrible mistake in the life of your child.
I, for one, walked out of my son’s room holding relief close. Thank you God that I am not Jesus for this kid. I cannot rescue him from the choices he will make…the decisions that will break him and possibly those around him. He will need to be rescued by a savior who is bigger and stronger and more beautiful and lovely than I will ever be.
Nope. I’m not God, August. Be thankful. After all, it’s Thankful Tuesday.