A long time ago (back when facebook was cool, but that's a whole other post that's been rolling around in my head), I was invited to join a group called something like "moms who need Jesus every hour! every minute! every second!" and on the wall someone suggested a book called A Mother's Touch by Elsie Arndt. It's out of print but I found it on Amazon (I linked it for you so you can, too) and read it.
It came at a very good time.
Sam had started preschool and Kate was tiny. Sam was very clingy and seemed to have forgotten how to play independently. I was frustrated that all the time I had spent with him wasn't helping him to be able to separate from me, frustrated that he was still so needy.
And then I read the book. She was a missionary in Papua New Guinea at the time, with her 3rd child in 4 years (or something like that, I can't remember exactly), and a visiting missionary had made a comment about how her kids needed her so much and how they should be more independent. Arndt goes on the say how she watches the PNG women with their children, carrying them, responding to them; in essence doing everything that we as Americans seem to do the opposite of - we push them away, in a sense. We want them to grow up and do things without us.
Your children are baby birds, Arndt says. Hold them close as long as you can. The more you hold them close and comfot them, the more secure they will be when they are ready to move on. Three is still really little.
It was a remarkable thought for me. To encourage Sam's ndependence, I should pull him close and hug him.
So I did. I put aside my thoughts of what should be and held my baby boy (and girl). I find myself coming back to that . . . when he gets off the bus and cries because he's "hot" - because really he's tired and hungry and missed me (maybe) and needs his "love tank" filled. Or when Kate insists on wearing the same fleece every day for school. She's little and needs comfort.
I don't always succeed or carry this out the way I'd like or the way I think honors God the most; I still get frustrated and snap at them, or tell them to stop whining when really I know they need something from me.
The other week in our Beth Moore Bible Study, she asked us to describe a time when we read or heard something at just the right time and how it impacted us. This book definitely fits that and I'm so thankful I was introduced to it when I was.