Friday, August 9, 2013

I Need Oxygen...My Baby's First Day of School by Deborah Bryant

Each time we travel by plane, we hear this message:  “If cabin pressure changes, the panels above your seat will open revealing oxygen masks.  If this happens, reach up and pull a mask toward you until the tube is fully extended.  Place the mask over your nose and mouth; slip the elastic strap over your head.  Breathe and know that oxygen is flowing.  Be sure to adjust your own mask before helping others.”

There was an unexpected change in cabin pressure.  My heart began to race.  My hands felt numb.  I felt dizzy and weak.  I need that oxygen mask!  It was my baby’s first week of Kindergarten and the first day she got out of the car in carline to walk by herself down that long sidewalk, then down the long hall to her classroom.  There was a lump in my throat.  As she stepped out of the car, I told her I loved her, a stranger closed the car door, I drove away, and tears flowed down my cheeks. 

Elizabeth Stone wrote, “Making the decision to have a child is momentous.  It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body”.  That day, my heart walked out of the car, down that long sidewalk, down the long hall into Mrs. White’s Kindergarten class and I was not there to hover, provide and protect it. I felt as if I were hyperventilating.

Since then, other changes in cabin pressure have come about.  I needed oxygen when I was dealing with my child’s health issues, when she first rode a bus without me to a field trip, when she was mistreated by another student, and when she changed schools.  I imagine I will need oxygen in the future as well.  I will need oxygen when she transitions to middle school, hits puberty, enters high school, starts driving, rides in cars with peer drivers, begins dating, goes to college, moves from home, gets married, gives birth and many other times. 

While navigating expected milestones and unexpected turbulence, changes in cabin pressure occur. Where do I find oxygen?  I find my oxygen in my Heavenly Father.  I ask Him for help and he answers.  Sometimes he answers with a “yes”, sometimes he answers with a “wait” and sometimes he answers with “I’ve got something better”, but he always answers.  He is faithful and constant.  He is my very present help, strength, and comforter - oxygen.  I’m lost without Him.  When I get worried, busy, tired, distracted, or sleep-deprived and forget, cabin pressure changes are a gift to remind me.  One of the most beautiful expressions of this is in the song, “Breathe” by Michael W. Smith:  “This is the air I breathe, Your holy presence living in me. This is my daily bread, Your very word spoken to me.  I’m desperate for you, and I’m lost without you.”   Note to self:  When experiencing anxiety from the joys and challenges in this wonderful journey of motherhood, strap on your oxygen mask and breathe.



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