“I do not want lunch or you have to come with me to school.” That was the best solution to the predicament she faced on that day. I understood how my daughter felt. Mouth sores made it difficult for her to chew food. As a mother I did not want her to skip lunch especially because she had exams in the morning and afternoon. On the previous day I had packed some bread and a cup of milk for her lunch. Her classmates thought it was funny for a third grader to eat bread dipped in milk for lunch. They responded by calling her “baby.” So she decided that staying hungry is better than being referred to as a baby or her mother’s presence could protect her from being teased by her friends.
My heart ached as part of me wanted to be with my child but reality was that I could not be there at lunch time as I worked about 20 kms away from her school. I reminisced about my own childhood. As my mother had died during my mid-teen years, I knew the feeling of a child who longs for her mother. But I know that mothers cannot always be with their children.
I held my daughter close to me and said, “Dear, I want to be there with you during lunch, but you know I cannot. However I know that Jesus is with you always even in times when I cannot be with you. He will be with you during lunch time.” I sensed peace on her face.
Years have passed after that incident. Now she in college about 700 kms away from me. She came home for two days due to certain illness. When the day of her return came, I guess I was in more pain than her. I wanted to be near her to care for her. But my schedules again made it impossible to fulfill the desire. Later she voiced the same wish in between tears and cries. My heart cried yet I want to be strong for her. I was constantly troubled by the limitation I experienced.
Parents can agree with me that they have felt the same many times in life. Regardless of the age of our children, we want to hold them in our arms to assure them of our love for them. But the truth is that the everlasting arms of God are always holding them and us to see us through every difficult time. The plan of God is always to build us and to bring a good future for us. Where a mother cannot reach, God is already there!