A Walk With a Worm
A Struggle Between Compassion and Control
Caeleen is two years old and today, for the first time, we took a walk alone together.
I used to take walks like this one with my now 13 year old everyday! I call them...control walks. For just a little, teeny part of their life....I let the child be in control instead of Mommy. And so, I followed her.
When she stopped to pick moss of the neighbors tree trunk for 20 minutes, I enjoyed the sun on my legs as I sat beside her.
When Caeleen wanted to cross-hand in hand-we crossed.
When she wanted to examine each daisy petal in someone's garden...we did.
Then-she discovered- the worm. She loves crawly things. Ants, spiders, beetles, anything that crawls. She catches them and lets them climb all over her hands and arms while she giggles in delight.
I try not to mind. Really I do. The spiders are the hardest for me and the bees she tries to catch...well that's where I draw the line.
But today-her baby was a worm. She got down on her belly to watch it wriggle on the sidewalk.
She touched it and when it squirmed away- she too, squirmed away. She went in for another try and this time tried to pick it up. I found myself actually encouraging her-and repeating a line from a book we read "Squishy, squirmy, wiggly wormy, who made you to wriggle in the dirt? God did!"
Once she figured out how to pick him up-we were back on our walk-worm in hand!
It was love at first site. She talked to it, she cooed at it, she maybe even kissed it...yuck! She stopped several times to bathe it in puddles throughout our neighborhood. She seemed to be handling him genlty-at least for a while.
Once, when crossing the street-a car turned the corner and we needed to pick up the pace. In her hurry to keep up with Mommy, she squeezed wormy a bit too much and once safely on the other side, looked down to find she now had not one-but two womies!!! This might have been a pleasant discovery-had she not had the sense to somehow know she had hurt him. She started to cry and in her jibberish baby talk looked up to me to explain what had happened???
As our walk continued, she began to enjoy the squishy feel of the worm a bit too much!She made him do whatever she wanted. Put him on her elbow-inside her hat-on a metal pole-even wrapped him up once or twice in a leaf blanket! I feared he would not last much longer, and twice more his body separated. The third time this happend, Caeleen semmed partially upset and partially angry at the worm.
"Why do you keep breaking, wormy!!! I'm trying to play with you!" I felt she would yell if she could.
Finally, at a stop to admire some rocks in a driveway, she accidentally dropped little wormy. Phew! Free at last! She didn't even realize it until we were almost half way home.
Then, suddenly, she looked down into her hands and realized he was gone!
She started looking all over her arms, on the ground, in the grass beside us, in the next puddle we passed. She was so sad to have lost him. I knew where she had dropped him-but felt certain, if he had any life left at all-he needed to be left alone to recuperate from his worm walk.
I found myself amazed at the complexity of emotions and behaviors that Caeleen exhibited on her worm walk. She seemed to think this guy needed her. She seemed to care for him and showed real compassion when he was hurt. She also insisted on having everything her way as if she knew what was best for a worm. When she determined it was time for a bath-in the puddle he went. Can worms breathe under water, by the way? Apparently, Caeleen didn't need that token of information! She, being like the little worm's Mommy loved him-and wanted to control his every move. Sometimes to protect him-and rightly so-for his own good. But other times, her controlling choices hurt her baby. Need I suggest breaking him in two several times as a good illustration?
I love my children.
I delight in the things they do and say and in spending time with them.
But, I also find myself trying to control them more than I need to. Sure, sometimes it is for their own good. But, sometimes I wonder if I am just enjoying the squishy feeling a bit too much-and-woops....broke a bit off them that time.
I desire to be the kind of Mommy that encourages my blessings and builds them up. Makes them stronger-helps them grow into Godly young men and women. Not a control freak that just takes pleasure in getting to be the one to make the rules, call the shots-like it or not-because Mommy said so!!!
The sun was warm and wonderful...Caeleen's company was endearing.....the relaxing and quite pace was much needed......but it was the worm that spoke that loudest on our walk today!
"Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the
training and instruction of the Lord." Ephesians 6:4