My children are young adults now. I marvel at their accomplishments, competence, work ethic, and generosity. I would like to take credit for everything, but it was not me.
It was all Grace.
Grace slipped into our home along with the crib and the car seat, the tiny socks and the bundles of diapers. Without an official application or job interview, she signed on for the duration–and for free.
Grace arrived when my first child was born
It was Grace who lined up the parade of family and friends that rushed to our aid after my first child, my daughter Emily, was born. After days in intensive care, I was barely able to get myself to the bathroom. One-by-one, family and friends arrived with baby gifts and casseroles in their hands. They each stayed a week at a time, rocking a screaming infant through the nights so that I could rest. Thank you, Grace!
A few years later, it was Grace who whispered to me, “This is different,” when my toddler son lay down on the living room floor. We had grown accustomed to Sam’s high fevers whenever he became ill, even a minor cold. This time, I rushed Sam to the doctor’s office where his blood oxygen proved to be low. The doctor sent us straight to the hospital where Sam remained for two days being treated for a severe respiratory infection.
Whew! Thanks again, Grace!
Grace has shown up just when I needed her
While I was out in the garage one summer day, it was Grace that grabbed a hold of me and spun me around. As I turned, I saw my young son running across the yard toward the slide. He had a lightweight plastic sled on his back like a superhero cape. The slender rope used to pull the sled was around Sam’s chubby, short neck.
In a nanosecond, I saw what was to come. I raced across the yard screaming for Sam to stop. I was too late. He had climbed the slide and started down. The sled was too wide to pass between the rails at the top of the slide. Sam passed through, but the sled did not.
I reached the play equipment as my sweet preschooler was hanging by his neck. I was able to hold onto Sam as I released the sled. His only injury was a minor rope burn around his neck. Had I been seconds later, the outcome may have been tragic.
A thank you is not enough, Grace!
Grace has been beside me in hospital emergency rooms and car accidents
It was Grace who went with me to the hospital emergency room where I had taken my teenage daughter after she suffered an injury at the soccer field. An examination and X-rays revealed no real damage. The doctor determined it was a soft tissue injury causing Emily’s pain and inability to bear weight.
The nurse came into the room with two pain pills for Emily to take right there in the exam room. The nurse also had a prescription for more pain medication that we could pick up from the pharmacy on our way home.
Grace wasn’t having it. She gave me the courage to say to the nurse, “My daughter has never taken opioids. Can we start with one?” The nurse was angry. With the tablets already dispensed, it was likely a problem for the nurse to discard or return the second pill, but with Grace’s support, I stood my ground.
In the end, one tablet was enough to get Emily through the ordeal. Over-the-counter medicines and comfort care led to a full recovery. We never had a bottle of unused opioids in our medicine cabinet at home.
Thank you, Grace, for helping to protect us from a future we could not yet see.
It was Grace who arranged my schedule and had me at home the morning my daughter called me on her cellphone from the side of a busy urban interstate. Shaken, Emily said, “Mommy, I’ve been in an accident.”
The news of a chain-reaction collision shook me too, but I was grateful to be there to pick up the call the moment the phone rang and to stay on the line providing support and guidance. Grace did double duty that day. Somehow she managed to be with me and with Emily too. No one was injured.
Many people thank you for that one, Grace!
Now Grace travels with my children as they move into the world
In the end, it was Grace who traveled with my children as they moved out into the world. Grace was unobtrusive, and the children did not notice her watchful eyes. Grace is the one who knows the entire, true story of their teen and college years. I suspect I would find some of it terrifying. But it was Grace who was wise to all of the temptations and shenanigans I would never know about, and it was Grace that brought the children home alive and safe after each adventure.
Much of parenting is a thrill ride. One moment we are terrified, the next elated. We spend so many years breathless and screaming as life picks up speed, plunges, climbs, and curves. I was very fortunate to have Grace in the seat next to me.
I know so many good, devoted, and loving parents who took the ride feeling terrified and alone. Their beautiful children struggled with addiction, died from opiate overdoses, car accidents, and terrible diseases. Some of their once-sweet babies served time in prison. I have heard those broken-hearted parents ask, “Why?” I do not know.
So far, we’ve been fortunate
In the parenting economy, I was a lottery winner. I ask myself, “Why?” As a new parent, I had been naïve. I was focused on the furnishings; I did not know that parenting would require so much grace. How I ended up with a divine assistant like Grace I do not know. It seems as though she spilled from God’s hands, and I was there below when the droplets fell.
Of course, it is not over. There are many more years ahead. Parenting adults has turned out to be more frightening than parenting preschoolers. The decisions are so much bigger, the stakes so much higher, the consequences so much graver. And I am no longer a party to the discussions.
I pray that Grace will not grow weary of me or my children. Today, as every day I say, “Thank heaven for Grace.”