|Courtesy L. Richardson|
The mom was maybe twenty-two at most. Intense concentration pushed the tip of her tongue to the corner of her mouth while she filled out the medical forms.
Rocking a car seat with her foot, she reached to pat first one child and then the other sitting in seats next to her. The five-month-old was wheezing.
As the dad strode in with a freshly mixed bottle, the calm evaporated. He set the room a-buzz barking orders at the eighteen-month-old and five-year-old.
The kids became more fretful as he strutted back and forth. The mom’s precise control began to slip as the dad’s nervous energy sucked the air out of the room.
As annoying as he was, it was plain to see how hard he was trying. Even plainer to see how afraid he was of someone else becoming impatient if the children grew too restless.
|Courtesy A. Squires|
I was the only other person in the room, but he cared desperately about my opinion. That much was plain to see.
Where were the folks on whom this couple relied to speak a calming word, offer a quiet moment of respite, and reassure them in their journey?
I reached in my bag only to realize my copy of Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe was on the table in my living room.
I thought of how Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson take turns speaking about the seasons of parenting. I twisted and turned in my seat. If I said anything, I could overstep my boundaries.
|Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative|
If I said the right thing, this young couple might stop and take a breath. The ache in my heart grew sharper as I saw the older two children begin to crumble under the chaos the dad was creating.
He was unaware that the children were causing far less commotion than was he. Finally, he came close enough to meet my eye by accident. It was then or never:
Young man, you are working so hard. It is plain to see that you are both working so hard to be good parents. Shhh . . . it’s o.k. Take a deep breath and calm down. Those are sweet little children who’ve barely made a peep since you came in. It’s obvious that you are doing the best you can by them. Relax. It’s going to be o.k. Just breathe.
I looked over at the mom. Her eyes were full of tears. She mouthed, “Thank you. Thank you!”
Too many young women (and men) are navigating the parenting maze alone. Indeed, they mount heroic efforts despite coming from fractured families where no one knew how to teach the gentle art of either friendship, marriage, or mothering.
|Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative|
As Sarah Mae and Sally take turns speaking about the heartbreak and beauty of parenting, I see the seasons of my own life. I see the need for women in my age bracket to embrace the book as well as the young women around us.
I see the need for each of us, younger and older, to look for ways to build community. I need your vigor and enthusiasm as my body and mind begin to slow a bit. You need to be able to ask me if it will always be this hard, and a million other things, I’m sure.
Do you understand the situation I described above because I have described your life experience? Perhaps you have also observed a young couple or single parent adrift and alone - desperate with the need to breathe - and wondered what to say.
Have you felt ill-equipped to speak an encouraging word to a struggling young mom? Do you wonder if you are all alone in your parenting struggles?
|Courtesy M. Horrocks|
Won’t you join me in reading Desperate? Whether you are a young mom with lots of littles or a mom in the scrunched season of life launching young adults while caring for elders, we will find common ground in these pages.
Consider Sally’s words:
In this individualistic culture where everyone is too busy and overwhelmed with life, the groups in which we find community will inevitably be the groups we start ourselves. (p. 22)
Are you looking for ways to build community? Won’t you join me for in(RL) on April 26th and 27th? This worldwide event is free. On Friday the 26th, we will watch a computer webcast from the comfort of our own homes. On Saturday the 27th, we will meet with a small group of other women and begin to build community.
Come on now. Don’t be a friady cat. Go watch the trailer, register, and find a group close to you by clicking here:
To order your copy of Desperate, click on the book link at the top right of this page.
To read another story of a desperate young couple and how our paths crossed, read:
|Courtesy B. Creasy - 2010|
Micah 6: 8 (NIV)
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.