I want them to be mine

February 23, 2016

The two girls I carry below my heart. The three boys who run circles around me all day long. I want them to be mine. 

I refer to them as such, of course. My twins. My sons. Our children. But oh, the flimsy power of possessive pronouns. They have never been mine to keep.

I did not create them. I cannot control them. I will not save them. What humbling, frustrating, and defining truths.

They have been given to me to guide, to tend, to shepherd and care and companion. But they came from God and they will someday return to God. They are not mine. 

Most of the time I do not remember this. It is up to us, their parents, to feed, shelter, comfort, teach, correct, and love them. They were born from our hopes; they share our home; they rely on our care. They are ours, right?

Except their life and breath are only in God’s hands. The rest is blessed detail.

So how do you hold loosely and lightly the most precious gift you’ve been given? You cannot. It is part of the paradox of parenting. The power and the powerlessness. 

But oh, when the veil gets ripped back and you realize that you could lose exactly what you most want to keep, you cannot help but try to cling fast to any illusion of control you wish to be true.

We learned that the babies I am carrying have developed twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome: the scariest complication of sharing a placenta. The threat we feared most all along. The game-changer which now turns every twice-weekly ultrasound into a possible algebraic equation: today + 1 day = surgery. From which one or both babies might not survive.

I know that everything could turn out safe and swimmingly. I know there are plenty of twins who go on to safe deliveries and healthy childhoods after this syndrome and surgery. I also know there are parents whose worst fears come true.

I am stuck smack in the middle of all these possibilities that I cannot control.

The stories keep coming, whispering when I wake, circling through my head throughout the day. Only say the word and my daughter will be healed. Whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. The Lord will guard your coming and going, now and forever. 

All of these words, like well-worn rosary beads or dog-eared Bible pages, reminding me what they have reminded centuries of Christians. That this life is not our own.

And that my children do not belong to me. They are held by stronger, safer, surer hands than I could ever hope to offer.

Helplessness is not the same as hopelessness. This is what I have to keep learning. Yes, we are trapped in a situation not of our choosing, a rock-and-hard-place from which I wish I could run and never look back. But no, this is not the end.

And if the only One I truly belong to is God, too, then I must trust the same stronger, safer hands are holding me, too.

Originally posted at Mothering Spirit