Father’s Day

Father’s Day

This morning I read a beautiful blog post about buying Father’s Day Cards called Fathers Are Not Idiots.

When Leah and I used to attend Oncology Day Beds in Bristol Children’s Hospital, we were normally in a single room, as Leah’s immunity was so low.

However, one day, I happened to glance in one of the three bedded rooms and what I saw there just melted my heart.

I saw a pale child, with chemotherapy hair loss, sound asleep on top of his bed. Also asleep on top of the bed, was the child’s daddy, with his large frame curled protectively around his little son.

I quietly called one of the nurses over and the two of us just stood there, drinking in this picture of parental tenderness and nurturing. I felt like I was standing on holy ground.

How I wished that I could photograph the scene, but this family were outpatients and I didn’t know them, so there would be no way to obtain their consent.

I had so many emotions in my heart as I stood there gazing at this sleeping daddy protecting his sick little boy. I wondered did that daddy ever have the urge to scoop up his beautiful little boy in his arms and run away, far away, from all the needles and the poison (chemotherapy) that promised to make his child better?

As parents, our desire to protect our children from harm is so strong, but as adults we understand that sometimes the cure hurts and that they may even feel worse before they feel better. We hope and pray that it will be a cure and that they will feel better, because for some children, like Leah, the cure kills.

Nevertheless, I thought it was so beautiful that here in this busy Oncology Outpatients Department, this Daddy did the one thing that he could do for his child; provide comfort by getting on the bed beside him and enveloping him in his arms as he slept.

Sadly, not everybody has such a positive experience of their earthly father.

We live in a broken world.

However, the Bible describes God as our Heavenly Father. The most famous prayer in the Bible begins with the words  “Our Father, which art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy nameMatthew 6:9 or, as I learned growing up “Ár nAthair atá ar neamh, go naofar d’ainm,”

This weekend Father’s Day is celebrated, but for those of us who don’t have an earthly father to celebrate, we have a loving Heavenly Father. One of the most beautiful descriptions of His love for us is in Zephaniah 3:17 (NKJV)

The Lord your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.”

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The Playground Incident

The Playground Incident

Recently when listening to adults talking to me about some of their adverse childhood experiences, what has really stood out for me in their story, is how their distress was compounded when the significant adults in their lives didn’t provide the nurturing that they needed at the time.

This was either because the parent was not emotionally available for whatever reason, or because the parent simply did not believe the child regarding the situation that the child was distressed about.

I’ve thought a lot about this.

These adults are very traumatised because of what happened to them as children. I can’t help but wonder how much less traumatised they would be, if at the time that the adverse event was ongoing, a significant adult in their life had nurtured them through the situation, even if it was something that they were powerless to change.

It is so difficult to watch our children struggle.

If it’s something that we genuinely cannot change, then it can be easier to look the other way and have ourselves believe that our kids are doing fine – after all, they’re “only kids”!

Last week’s “playground incident” involving my youngest was not resolved as quickly or as easily as I initially hoped.

It required a lot of ongoing nurturing on my part.

It was complicated by the fact that she ended up being off school sick, so then she couldn’t go to school to resolve it and everything escalated.

A few years ago I’m not sure if I would have had the emotional capacity to provide nurturing to the extent that I have provided it this past week.

In years gone by, I think that I used to be in too big of a hurry to jump in with my quick fire solutions. I thought that every problem had an obvious solution.

Through Leah’s illness and death I have learned that there are many situations in life that can’t be fixed, or can’t easily be fixed.

I have learned that sometimes the kindest thing that we can do for someone, is to not try and pretend that we can fix things, but to verbally or non verbally communicate: “I feel your pain, I care and I’m here for you.

Thankfully, with the help of an amazing teacher, everything appears to finally be resolved and the smile has returned to my little one’s face.

I will continue with a bit of extra nurturing, just to be sure.

I’m also thankful to those adults who entrust me with their stories, because I’m learning so much.

I just wish that I could start and raise my children all over again though, now that I’m older and wiser!

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