This is a post that I've had whirling in my head for a long time. I need to hear this reminder frequently. Some other mom out there needs to hear it, too.
I was hospitalized before Little Brother was born due to pregnancy complications. After Little Brother was born, he was in the NICU for ten weeks. I spent all day every day at the hospital with him. It was almost as if I was hospitalized, too. There are a lot of musings from that time period about which I will write in the future. That story has to be told bit by bit by bit, the way it was experienced.
Today, though, as a friend is facing a similar trial, heavy on my heart is the part of the story that affected Big Brother. You see, he was not quite three years old and suddenly his life plunged into chaos. During that time, my heart broke to be apart from him. His third birthday came and went without much ado. Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year's came and went… and his mommy was absent. He missed me. He wanted me to "snuggle" him on the couch. He would hold my hand to his cheek when he saw me, and close his eyes as if being near me was complete bliss.
I told some people how I felt about it, and everyone would say, "Well, at least he won't remember it!" I tried to comfort myself somehow with that thought - he was small enough that he wouldn't remember it. He wouldn't have to carry that burden his whole life. Isn't this what we do? We worry about how we are "scarring our children for life" with the things that we say and do or don't say and don't do. There is always guilt associated with every facet of motherhood… guilt associated with both sides of every single decision.
God gave me a verse to which I clung in desperation throughout Little Brother's hospitalization and the months that followed his homecoming:
I fought fear every day. It was an excruciating, exhausting battle, but I reminded myself that He loved my boys so much more than I love them. I had to surrender them to Him time and time again.
I still clung to the hope that Big Brother wouldn't be scarred for life by my absence when Little Brother was born and hospitalized. Then, one day, just a few short months ago, I heard Big Brother say to Little Brother, "You were in the hospital for a LONG TIME. But don't worry. You don't have to go back there EVER AGAIN."
Tears stung my eyes, and my heart sunk with the realization that he had not forgotten. For a short time, I was tortured by this. I wondered how it was going to affect him in the future; I worried that he was "scarred for life."
Then something clicked in my head. I don't know if it was the Holy Spirit whispering to my heart or what, but these words came to me: Yes, he remembers. He remembers and he is okay. Quite simply, it was part of his journey, just like the things that have hurt me in my life were part of my journey. I realized that just as there is no part of my life, no hurt, no circumstance, that is beyond the redemption of Christ - that same truth applies to the hurts in the lives of my loved ones! He can redeem my mistakes as a mother and use them for good. Of course, it will be up to my boys, but it will be their choice. They do not have to be scarred for life.