Often times I compare taking care of Max as wrestling an alligator. He is strong and throws his head and wriggles as much as he can to get away from you when he feels like he is being contained for too long. You can come to the point of complete exhaustion and he is still fighting for all it’s worth. He has what seems to be boundless energy when it comes to getting his way.
Yesterday his caregiver called and said he needed to be picked up. They though he had pink eye. I felt like it was just allergies, he had not complained of hurting, his eye was not excessively red, he was sleeping fine. After we picked him up, we let him get his nap and then took him to a walk-in clinic. The clinic opened at 6pm and I got there with him, ALONE, at 6:15. Expecting to be in and out in about 30 minutes I did some classic mistakes: no snacks, phone at 50%, no toys, no sippy cup, etc. I did at least have the brain to bring diapers and wipes.
By the time we were seen by the doctor it was 9:15,two hours past his bedtime. The time in between, those three hours, are etched in my memory as a place I’d rather not have been. Max wanted to run around the room, laugh and play, scream, look at YouTube for 2 minutes, cry over someone’s snack, look at a magazine for 3 minutes, head butt me repeatedly, wave at all the people in the room, watch YouTube again, rip magazines in half, laugh and giggle, try and open the door to go outside. In a last ditch effort to keep him quiet, I even stood with him on my hip and let him play in the water fountains. The two hours in the waiting room seemed like ten instead. I was exhausted from chasing, soothing, tickling, reading, admonishing, kissing and by then my phone was dead after a play list of Baby Einstein.
When we got in the room I thought, well at least now we are in a room. Nope, I shouldn’t have been so relieved. Now he could get down but he was into everything. He tried to pull the cords out of the computer, get in the trash, and he pulled over 1/2 the roll of white paper onto the floor. I finally turned off the light and held him down, hoping he would just go ahead and go to sleep. He fought and fought me but finally he got himself settled and played quietly on my lap, turning the light in the room on and off and on and off and, well you get the picture. By the time the doctor came in he was about as cranky as I’ve ever seen him. He had a bad ear infection that had spread to his eye, but you would have never known that from his response levels to pain. That boy is truly a tank.
While at morning prayer today, I was talking to God about being thankful for His love and tell Him that I have no clue why He loves me so much but I’m glad He does. I saw a vision of yesterday, of me wrestling Max, of me not losing my temper and continuing to sooth my baby even when he was not really very lovable. God spoke to me in that moment and said “This is how you can understand my love for you. I love you more than you loved Max yesterday. I love you when you walk the wrong way, when you try to go through the wrong doors, when you sit and scream or beat your head against the wall instead of relying on me.” I was overwhelmed with tears and just sat and cried for a while. God’s love is so amazing that He is willing to wrestle the alligator and sooth me when I don’t seem to reciprocate His actions.
What alligators are you wrestling today? What can they teach us about our response to God’s love for you? I am ever thankful that I serve the God that never gives up on me. Take some time and talk to Him and get in His presence consistently and see if some things start changing for the better in your life.