Anxiety! I am having anxiety. Why this anxiety? You’re going to laugh.
We had Levi throw away his pacifiers today.
Bwahahahaha, right? Celebrate the milestone, right?!
Then why this anxiety?!
Levi’s “paci’s” have been his life line. His source of comfort. He lived one whole week before Grandma gave him a “Nuk” to suck on and he’s been hooked ever since. It’s been fabulous. For a while we didn’t know what to call it – “Nuk,” “Binky,” “pacifier.” We landed on “paci.” Sometime after he turned two we finally got him weaned down to only using it to fall asleep, or when he was really sick. It was my sure fire method of offering him a way to calm himself down. And if you know Levi, you understand he is a very emotional boy, to all wonderful extremes. Most people say, “Oh, what a happy, enthusiastic, charming boy!” Which he is! All of those. But in a bad mood, when he’s in a safe space at home with mom and dad, not getting what he wants, frustrated, tired, or angry…. Look out. He is all of those extremes, too. So pacifier…. Bless it! For quite a while now – maybe a year or more – he’s had three pacifiers. One red, two blue. The red one goes in his mouth. The two blue ones in each hand. Losing one in the middle of the night sometimes necessitates a trip to mom and dad’s bedroom to find the poor lost paci. In the morning, once it’s time to eat breakfast, the paci’s go on the fridge until the appointed time before nap time, when he gets them back and sucking during our bedtime routine slowly calms and soothes him. So, as I mentioned….
We had Levi throw away his pacifiers today.
The garbage “monster” was hungry, so he fed his paci’s to the kitchen trash. What fun! And then he burst into tears. For maybe 30 seconds. And then we were off playing cars and the pacifiers were forgotten. But my heart still constricted. My shoulders were tense. My mind was bracing for a possible tantrum at nap time, when the reality of not having paci’s sets in. But still…. We’ve hit milestones before. A tantrum at nap time has happened for many reasons, and I have handled them all. What is going on in me?
And then my mind identified the issue. I was losing control. An apron string cut, if you will. I controlled his paci’s, and in my hand they were a very effective tool for soothing my child. Not only that, but yesterday Esther cut her own (GIANT) apron string…. On the day her brother turned three and she turned 13 months, she quit nursing. The night before she had nipped me at her bedtime feed, so I ended the session. Then yesterday she wanted nothing to do with nursing. I was an emotional mess last night after I laid her down for bed, because she had gone all day refusing my breast. She chose her thumb and lovie instead of me (she gave up a pacifier LOOOOONG ago).
Am I really that much of a control freak, that I’m having anxiety over losing control of what my kids suck on? Or do I just need to accept the incredible emotional bond that exists between me and them? From the get-go, a baby’s cries cause mom anxiety, and her instinct is to soothe, however she can. Breastfeeding has been a huge part of that, especially for Esther. It was for Levi, too, but after weaning he had his paci’s. And I could provide that comfort.
I can no longer offer those to my children. I guess I feel powerless.
I must find a way to surrender some of my power. I am raising children to be independent adults, not grown-up people who still need mommy. Yes, they are a long, long way from adults. They still depend on me for almost all of their needs, and I have a lot of comfort to still offer them. And I would argue that as adults, we all still need our mom in some way. But they are not my children. They belong to the Lord. And this is just one small step of letting go and letting God. All I have to do is glance at my News Feed to know what is ahead…. Kindergarten graduation. Summer camp. High school graduation. Moving to college. Getting married. Letting go, all of it.
But Jesus gives me such calm and peace… because they are his children, for him to call to himself, for him to watch over. They are in my care for just a short time. So now my heart is humming the melody of a soothing hymn…
All to Jesus, I surrender, all to him I freely give.
I will ever love and trust him, in his presence daily live.
I surrender all, I surrender all.
All to thee my blessed Savior, I surrender all.
We surrendered the paci’s. And my boobs hurt. But it’s alright. My kids are His. 🙂