R's recovery from his tonsillectomy has been remarkably smooth up to this point. Depending on who you talk to, the pain can spike anywhere between days 1-8, but as of day 4 he's been a real trooper. As I have heard several different people's accounts of their experience post op, an important lesson has emerged: the journey looks different for everyone.
Sure, there are some fundamentals that everyone will agree on...Stay hydrated. Try to stay ahead of the pain. Eat lots of ice cream. Don't deceive yourself into thinking you are stronger/farther along than you are. Rest. (Good life lessons here too if you think about it.) But even with those basic instructions, everyone has their own individual experience. To a large degree we had to be ready for just about anything and hold on for the ride.
The greatest gift, however, has been the fact that my increasingly 'grown up' R has allowed me to love on him a lot in the last few days.
It is a priority of mine to raise independent children who are able to 'do life' without their Mama wiping up after them all the time. (I loved the foundation a Montessori education gave us for this.) I certainly want to model care, love and service to them...but I also want them to feel the healthy pride and confidence that comes from responsibility. Balancing this in an age appropriate manner takes intentionality and I frequently swing too far to one side of the other. (Thanks, Kelly, for directing me to this article.)
In recent months my R has been in the throes of his male process of pulling away from Mama's apron strings (he was very attached to mine) and establishing himself as a little man. While I know it is a part of human development, it has been a bumpy road. It's not that I have wanted to keep him under my wings as much as it has been the relational difficulty of our clashing as he asserted himself as a man-child. It has hurt my heart and been a source of much thought, conversation and prayer (unfortunately, in that order). I have taken many big gulps and deep breaths. And while I appreciate the necessity of this stage in his overall growth and maturation, I have not enjoyed the process.
Surgery has given us a little intermission. While the primary objective of surgery was physical health, a pleasant side effect has been the promise of increased emotional/relational health that a 'time out' from this season may allow. Recovery has subdued R and allowed space for me to physically care for him. He has allowed himself to need me. I have felt tenderness towards him. I hope he has remembered that I am not the enemy to be fought, but a loving coach in this journey of life. O, how I love him.
I do not want to raise children who cling to me when it is God's desire for them to ultimately leave, cleave and do what He has planned for them in the world--but sometimes, a little Time Out is necessary to get things back in perspective.
I can only imagine that this is the case with tweens, teens and young 20s who are emerging into adulthood. I can reflect on some of my own feelings during those times. I can also relate it to the tough parts of my marriage, and, ultimately, my relationship with God. My flesh wants to prove itself competent. My foolish pride gets puffed up as I fight to prove my capability.
I am reminded again how slowing down to intentionally reconnect is vital to relationships--parental, friendly, marital or spiritual. We must remember that we are cared for and (gulp) that there IS authority in our lives, but by God's design that authority is loving--for our good and His glory.
We are getting a bit stir crazy and welcome the opportunity to ease back into 'real life.' It is my prayer that we recognize God's sovereignty even in the tonsillectomies of life and not quickly forget the lessons learned here.