As a parent you want to give your child the best life possible, to protect them. But even with your best efforts, things happen that you can’t do anything about. Sometimes you are meant to step back and let them work through it.
My oldest son had a condition called Pectus Excavatum, also referred to as a sunken chest. Many live with this condition. My son was embarrassed by it and also complained of increasing pain. He wanted surgery. I wasn’t convinced he should have the surgery based completely upon him wanting his chest to look “normal”. Though I hated the thought of it bothering him and worried about it effecting his confidence.
A combination of things lead me to agree something needed to be done… the image of his chest pushing into his heart, him complaining of pain and shortness of breath, and talking with the doctors about an increase in respiratory illness. I prayed we would find a solution other than them cutting my baby (He may be over 6ft tall, but he will always be my baby) open and placing a bar in his chest. That prayer was not answered as I wanted, but we were guided to some of the best surgeons (I’ll share more another time).
As surgery approached, I continued to pray for my son and his recovery. Oh, how I wished I could take his place. As I prayed, I felt reassured that he would be fine. I also felt that this was something he must go through. I knew God would never leave his side and he would gain characteristics from this trial that could be developed no other way. I was told there would be blessings and to watch for them. I did my best to hold on to those moments of reassurance and have faith and trust that all would be well.
I have always been touched by Josh’s spirituality–his deep thoughts. He has taught me on so many occasions. This time of his healing has been no different. The humility I hear and depth of his prayers has touched me time after time. He has grown and become a better individual. He had his moments of despair, frustration, anger, and wondering were God was, but he faced those moments and worked through them.
An added bonus to this experience is our relationship has become stronger, not many mother’s get to spend this much time with their teenage son. I have watched and laughed with him as he convinced me to watch a TV show (The Office, Survivor) or movie (Marvel movies) he likes. He has talked about experiences he has had that I’ve never heard about. He has shared his fears with me and we have just sat together in silence. I will always cherish this time we have had together.
His trial has continued, just as he was about to start high school (with a limited range of motion as he continues to heal) he became ill and continued to get worse. It ended up being mono. Our time together continues and he continues to learn and grow. We are each on our own path and I’m beginning to see that sometimes, as a parent, you need to let your child face hard things. I couldn’t do anything about these experiences, but sometimes we have a choice. Do we swoop in and save the day or do we step back and love and support our children as they face the challenge?
Though I would never wish the pain and discomfort he has experienced on anyone. I am so very proud of the young man he is becoming. I will use this experience as a reminder to stop and ponder before rushing in to fix my children’s problems.