Seriously, look at that face. This is him looking up to me with desperation in his eyes for just a wee bit of milk. As this is happening, I have this internal dialogue, “Should I give him some? He just wants some milk. It probably won’t make THAT much of a difference if he gets a little? It will give him the comfort he wants. No, it will only make matters worse. Must not cave. I am the adult. I know what’s best.”
The latter thought is almost comical. I couldn’t be more clueless. My husband and I joke about how we thought our parents knew everything when we were kids. We realized, if they are anything like we are now, they didn’t know much. However, in this case, I think I may know more than my nearly 18-month old baby. Milk and stomach bugs don’t play nice together. I stood firm.
Thinking of this stomach bug and “forced milk fast,” I thought what I have thought many a time as a parent, “This may be awful for a little while, but in the long run I’m doing what’s best for you.” Shots at the doctor are a perfect example of this conundrum. I’m sure in my son’s mind, I am a big ol’ mean-o who doesn’t protect him from that woman with a needle. He screams in pain and for what? He doesn’t know that I potentially saved him from a life-threatening disease. He just knows I didn’t protect him from the pain.
Are you seeing where this is headed?
How often are we the 18-month old who just wants milk? The infant who doesn’t like shots? The child who hates homework? The teenager who feels alone? The college student who is trying to balance school and work? The broken-hearted? The victim of a senseless circumstance? The jobless? The daughter without a Mom?
Whether you choose to continue the analogy and make my role as a parent similar to that of a Higher Being or not, the situation is the same. We are meant to endure things that will ultimately lead to our betterment, if we let them. Certainly we can make choices to avoid such pitfalls in the first place, but oftentimes things just happen. Pain happens in every form.
I never dreamed of losing my Mom to Ovarian Cancer at such a young age. While I do enjoy writing, there are no words to express the sorrow I felt, and continue to feel, with the loss of my Mom. My Mom was intertwined in my daily life and was my best friend. Her passing affected my life in ways that I never expected. Those revelations are for another post on another day.
So, how is a toddler unknowingly fasting from milk similar to my grieving process of my Mom? Both “tragedies” would ultimately be for our betterment. Of course, it’s so hard to see that when you’re in the middle of it. Maybe sometimes you don’t see the long term benefits. I wonder though if we don’t see them because we choose not to see them?
Some good has come from my Mom’s passing. It seems so shameful to say such a thing. As if admitting that something positive was gained translates to me being glad my Mom passed away. Certainly that is not the case. I yearn for even a moment with my Mom everyday. But if I choose to only see it as a tragedy with no lessons learned, then I fear I would be wasting my life and my potential to grow.
Happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that but simply growth. We are happy when we are growing. – William Butler Yeats
My desire is to grow. To begin. Fear is such a natural part of me. Fear of trials has plagued me for years. I don’t want to fear anymore, I want to grow. Fear keeps you stagnant. Faith keeps you moving.
When I think back on the darkest of times in my life, I truly get sick to my stomach. There are feelings of sorrow and emptiness that I hope I never have to feel again. However, those moments have taught me lessons that I could not have learned otherwise. Even more, seeing those trials through and coming out on the other end has brought me a greater sense of hope.
While I am no doctor, I encourage you to ponder your current trials. Think about what your “forced milk fast” is in your life right now. As confusing and troubling as it feels in the moment, try to think of the long-term gain that will come from your perseverance in this situation. Whether you have faith in a Higher Being ultimately knowing your every need, faith in yourself to grow, or both; try to see the silver lining amongst the tarnished circumstance you are facing at this time.
I’m happy to report that after a day and a half of my son not having his drink of choice, he is back to normal and happily drinking his milk again. Remember the often used Persian proverb, “this too shall pass.”