It's been a hard day. A really hard day. Can I explain it? No. I tried to tell That Man about it, but he just gave me that, "you're such a loon, but I love you," look. Even when I try to retell it to others, it doesn't sound so bad. Maybe I'm being a drama queen. Maybe I'm being hormonal. And maybe I'm just off my rocker.
Last night, instead of my beloved Denny's, I tried the open-late Starbucks by my house. Wow. I guess Starbucks is the new high school meat market. I have to say, it was a bit horrifying. I don't think I'm old enough to overhear most of what I overheard. I'm not even sure what to do with it. My heart is so sad that these kids are dealing with such adult issues. We need to pray for the teenagers out there. They're so lost. I didn't get much writing done, because it seemed like every few minutes, God put something else on my heart to pray for. One of the girls in particular reminded me of myself at her age. This slick, older guy, drawing her in with his knowledge of just enough to sound smart, but in reality, he was just a big loser trying to score. Today's teens, though, it seems like there's so much more pressure. So many more things on their plates. I see how it's changed from my teen years to now. And I wonder, and worry, about what it's going to be like for my little girls. I want them to be little girls, not these children playing at being grown ups.
Today, as part of my really bad day, I had a couple of rays of sunshine. My two little girls are amazing. My terrible three year old really came through for me as I walked the streets, lost, trying to figure out where were supposed to be, trying so hard not to cry because of all the bad things that had led to that moment. She hates holding my hand when we walk. She usually runs like a maniac and I end up frustrated at trying to corral her. But today, she walked beside me, her little hand never leaving mine, chattering about this and that, and making me realize that I have the very great honor of being her mommy. Then, when I picked up her sister, I had another amazing mommy moment. We walked home, hand in hand, and she told me about art and how they drew emotions. I asked her what emotion she drew, and she gave me this weird smile. I asked her what it meant, and she said, "it means I'm sooo happy because I have you for a mom." And I knew she meant it with all of her heart.
I pray for these little girls. Because I don't want them to deal with the hard realities that these older girls deal with in their lives. Some days, I don't even want them to deal with the hard realities in my own life. As I dealt with today's challenge, God and I went a few rounds. I kept telling Him I didn't understand, because it's just so hard. I asked him for a few little things, which He very graciously delivered. And I don't know that we ever really accomplished anything or resolved anything because I still feel... I don't know. I can't explain it, which makes it really hard to blog about.
I ended up spending a lot of alone time today after I got the little one to where she needed to go. The song going through my head was Todd Agnew's Can I be with you from his Better Questions CD. You do have it, right? Because you really should. Anyway, as it ran through my head, I kept asking God, "Can I be with you?" I wanted to rest my head on his shoulder and just know that it was all going to be okay. But as I examined all the junk from today, all the junk that had been building up, I don't know that I could find any pieces that were pure and true (if you listened to the song, you'd know what I meant). I can't describe how much it hurt. Does He really want me? Can He use someone so broken? Someone who is failing miserably at so many things right now?
And then I thought about my little girls. How they so trustingly held my hand today. I realized that the reason the baby almost never holds my hand is that I've given her the confidence she needs to do things on her own. She can run like a maniac because she knows I'm there. Today, as we walked through unfamiliar territory, she held my hand because she knew she needed me to keep her safe. The rest of the time, she's equipped to do it on her own. Her sister said something to me the other day at the store, walking through the parking lot hand in hand. "Mom, I know that you think I'm a big enough girl to go by myself. But you just like holding my hand, don't you?" She squeezed my hand and said, "And that's good, because I like holding yours too."
I'm not failing. I have two amazing little girls who know the power of holding hands. And, as I thought about this tonight, I remembered yet another good song from Todd's album, Still Has a Hold. It's about holding hands with God. I love the line in the chorus, "when my hand is weak and tired, your hand still has a hold." So I've been listening to it, realizing that I'm trying so hard to do all of this on my own, and honestly, I don't even know how to give it up. But the cool thing is that even as I'm stumbling and fumbling around, He's still got me by the hand.
I'm not through this storm. And maybe it'll be a while. But maybe it won't be so long. Either way, it won't be the only one. I just have to remember that even as I trudge through the leaves, feeling lost and alone, someone's got my hand. And when my little girls face their storms, even if they're worse than the ones I see these other girls go through, I know that they've learned, as the great Robert Fulghum said, "when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together." But the best thing is, they know whose hand to hold.