My six-year old daughter, Ellis, still experiences separation anxiety. Yesterday morning I sat in the back of her science class because she refused to let me out of her sight. It’s been like this for months.
I used to think Elliot, now 8 years old, had worse separation anxiety than his sister, but I unintentionally overlooked Ellis’ in dealing with his. It could be that she is going through a phase too. It’s hard to know what’s really going on with kids each time they go through something. So many questions!! So many worries!!
My hypothesis is that her heart condition fuels her insecurity and separation anxiety. She’s always had me by her side, in good or bad times. When she feels sick, she won’t let me out of her sight. For her first two years, I couldn’t leave her longer than an hour. When she noticed I wasn’t there, she would cry inconsolably. I used to call these years my 5-mile-radius life.
The mommy inside of me wants to be there for her as much as possible, but my needs get overshadowed. I worry about me getting sick and not being able to care for her. I can’t think about it for too long because I end up in a puddle of tears and worry. The worry spreads and these times I need the peace of God to cover an imminent panic attack. My weakness brings me closer to God.
Last month Elliot got sick with a middle-of-the-night- tummy ache. I stayed up all night comforting him. My body went through the care taking motions and comforting him through the night. He must’ve seen me walking to and fro bathroom to bedroom cleaning up and then dozing off on the floor. He apologized in the middle of his stomach ache for keeping me up that night, and even in my tiredness, my head told me to tell him it was okay and that I just wanted him to feel better. My mouth was moving but my emotions were flat.
The sun was rising and I let out a deep breath wondering how I would go about the day. The song “Fighting for me” by Riley Clemmons came into my head. It was comforting to sing the lyrics, to myself of course…it would’ve been too bizarre to break out into song at 5 a.m.
Yes, I can’t do it alone with my strength, but God can supernaturally fill in the gaps. In what fashion I didn’t know, but I know He has given me respite in surprising ways in the past. He will do it again.
“You will never stop fighting for me
When I can’t fight or myself
Every word is a promise you keep
Cause you love me like nobody else
You stand up for me
In the darkest night
When my faith is weak
You’re still by my side”
This song gave me the words when I didn’t know what to say. I’m terrible at remembering Bible verses, but song lyrics are much easier to recall when I need them.