By the Rev. Julia Mitchener
Dear Fellow Parent,
I see you. Even though we haven’t been at church together for many weeks, I see you.
I see you balancing both your computer and your squirmy toddler on your lap and praying that the lid on her sippy cup is screwed on extra tight.
I see you pulling on the same grungy shirt you’ve worn for several days now because you’ve done everyone’s laundry but your own.
I see you logging on to Amazon late at night trying to figure out which water toys might actually entertain your 8-year-old in case the pool doesn’t open.
I see you frantically picking up Legos, Superman underwear, and popsicle wrappers from around your desk so your co-workers won’t see what your house really looks like when you join the Zoom meeting in 5 minutes.
I see you wrestling to poke the straw through yet another pouch of Honest Kids, wondering why this is so freaking hard and contemplating just pouring your child a Coke.
I see you pulling into the drive thru at Chik-fil-A for the third time this week just so you can go out in the car and pretend that life is normal again (also because Chik-fil-A Sauce).
I see you passing by your kids’ school on the ride home. I see the tears in your eyes when your youngest wonders aloud if he’s ever going to get to go back there.
I see you hesitate as you pass by the playroom on your way to do yet another load of laundry. Your daughter is still playing Roblox. I see you hesitate for a second, wanting to tell her it’s time to stop, but you’re just too tired to argue.
I see you pulling your big kid—the one who normally dodges hugs and kisses—I see you pulling your big kid into your arms when he collapses in tears after finding out his beloved summer camp will not be opening this year. I see you sniffing the back of his neck like you used to when he was little and realizing it’s probably time for him to start wearing deodorant (When did this happen?).
I see you running for the bathroom and telling your spouse you must have food poisoning just so you can have 20 minutes all to yourself.
I see you sitting alone at night, collapsed on the sofa, too tired to pick up the day’s detritus and thinking how much easier all this must be with a life partner.
I see you polishing off a glass of wine with a side of Cheetos and a box of Thin Mints you found in the back of the freezer, then going back to see what’s left.
I see you lying patiently on two inches of your child’s twin bed every night because he can’t fall asleep by himself anymore. I see that same child crawling into your bed at 3 a.m. rendering you wide awake until dawn.
I see you. God sees you, too, and without a touch of irony says, Well done, good and faithful servant. Well done. Your sacrifices are not unnoticed. You are not alone, and your labor is not in vain. I know how very hard this is. I know that in all your wildest dreams, you could never have imagined it. I know you can’t see a way through right now. But there is a way, and I will help you find it. Don’t give up, and don’t be so hard on yourself. You are a wonderful parent. You are doing just fine. We will get through this together.
Keep the faith.