There’s a JJ Heller song I love to sing to the kids, called “Boat Song”. Her lyrics go “If you were a boat, my darling…I’d be the wind at your back. If you were afraid my darling…I’d be the courage you lack. If you were a bird, then I’d be a tree, and you would come home my darling, to me. If you were asleep, then I’d be a dream, wherever you are, that’s where my heart will be…” Kyle commented to me the other day how he doesn’t like it as a love song because the one person singing is always in a position of control, directing the other person. I laughed and told him that’s why I love it as a song to sing our kids, because as parents we can slant the world in their favor and pave their ways.
Except when you can’t.
Except when, the next day, we took Londyn in for her hip dysplasia checkup and the doctor told us her hip socket is still too shallow. “It is possible this can correct on it’s own, over time,” our new orthopedic surgeon stated. “If it doesn’t though, we would need to do surgery to deepen the socket. But it could be her socket just needs a little more time to develop since it has been treated so much in the past. You guys have sure been through the ringer already,” she sympathized. “Is there anything we can do to make sure her hip socket continues to develop?” I ask, grasping for that parental control, something to hold on to so I can continue to slant my daughter’s future to the easiest, most pain-free path. The ortho shook her head, “Unfortunately, no, there’s nothing we can do. We just need to wait and see.”
I look at my beautiful daughter. Her hair is just long enough to make the fountain effect out of her high ponytail. Her baby chub is just now starting to even out a bit, though I’m in no rush for it to leave. Her green brown eyes read my emotions before I can even try to hide them. I scoop her up and tell her what a great job she did at the doctor. I buckle the kids into the carseats, I drive home, hiding the tears streaming down my face. We eat lunch, I put them down for naps. We continue on with life, just as before. I try to forget about the fact that there’s another 6 month deadline looming above us, when hip dysplasia can turn a routine appointment into the scariest day of my life. Or at best, another 6 month window to hope.
But how much can we really control as parents? I cannot control if kids are mean to my children at school, or if they break a bone on the playground. I cannot control their futures or who they’ll eventually fall in love with. Back when they were tiny fetuses in my womb, how much could I truly control?
I have to rest in my faith that there is a Higher Power stronger than me, who truly is in control. That God has His hands on my family and that He loves us as His children.
I can give my children the best gifts a parent can - roots to steady them and wings to fly with. So here’s to us, the parents who grapple with loss of control over the most precious gifts we’ve been given. May we raise strong children, brave children, and most of all, children who know they are deeply loved.
“If you were the ocean, I’d be the sand. If you were a song, I’d be the band. If you were the stars, then I’d be the moon. A light in the dark, my darling for you. Oh, do you know we belong together? Oh, do you know my heart is yours?”